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April 05, 2007 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-04-05

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One of the Reform movement's most
respected spiritual leaders, Rabbi Loss
heard from colleagues throughout the
community and around the world as
word of his selection to the Newsweek
list reverberated. "They are so appre-
ciative of the fact that rabbis, who
have devoted their careers to congre-
gational life, have been included in the
top 50," he said.
Rabbi Paul Yedwab, a colleague at
Temple Israel, said Rabbi Loss "has
been an integral part of building
Temple Israel into one of the most
creative and vibrant congregations in
"Rabbi Loss has enabled us to stay
nimble while helping us grow to the
point where we now comprise more
than 1 percent of all of the Reform
Jews in America — and this in a
spread-out suburb of Detroit;' Rabbi
Yedwab said.
Rabbi Loss has created a congre-
gational culture rooted in attracting

younger members while also embrac-
ing those who are older. At the same
time, Rabbi Yedwab said, Rabbi Loss
has broken every conventional rab-
binic rule.
"Rabbi Loss loves his lay leadership,
counts his congregants as dear friends,
chooses partnership over hierarchy
and determinedly eschews public hon-
ors and personal recognition;' Rabbi
Yedwab said. "Yet somehow in the
process, he has become the epitome of
a rabbi.
"Everyone knows that he is the one
to turn to in a storm."
Rabbi Loss knows the fame and
teasing is fleeting. He's enjoying all of
the conversations, compliments and
humor connected to the listing.
"But now it is back to preparing
sermons, teaching classes, visiting
hospitals and taking care of families,"
he said. "I view my inclusion in the top
50 as a statement that it is time to get
back to work."' I



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ness three Hollywood types
Boteach "obviously didn't
have ranking the nation's
understand what the list was
all about:' which he described
One bone of contention
as an effort to initiate a con-
Yehuda Berg, who
versation about the changing
isn't even really
role of Jewish leadership.
of the
Sanderson concedes that he's
disappointed with what has
Rabbi Hier
tering to the likes of Demi
"The most surprising thing
Moore and Madonna.
was how defensive a lot of
"Any list that has Yehuda
people are about the list," he
Berg on it is a list that I do
said. "The conversation isn't
not want to be on," said one
as constructive as I hoped it
rabbi who made the cut. "I
would be:'
think his name up there on
The list's appearance on
the top tells you all you need
March 26 set the Jewish
blogosphere buzzing, inspir-
to know about the Jewish
Rabbi Boteach
sophistication of these folks
ing a storm of talkback com-
Attempts to reach Berg
ments that parsed the list
from numerous angles, obsessing over were unsuccessful, but Sanderson
defended his inclusion, saying Berg
the denominational breakdown, geo-
is largely responsible for the public's
graphic distribution and omissions.
increasing familiarity with Kabbalah.
The ranking included more
Orthodox rabbis (15) and fewer
"This is a pop phenomenon:'
Sanderson said, "and he's in the mid-
Conservative ones (10) than their
dle of it." I
proportion of the overall U.S. Jewish
population would suggest. It also was
weighted toward the West Coast, with
Complete list: www.msnbc.msn.com/
four of the top 10 based in Los Angeles. id/17721005/site/newsweek
Critics also questioned what busi-

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April 5 a 2007


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