Last week, this newspaper noted that two local men were among the top 10 in Newsweek’s 2009 list of America’s 50 most influential rabbis, unveiled earlier this month.
|From top, Rabbi Mark Golub, Rabbi Michael Greenbaum, and Rabbi Menachem Genack|
Three others made the list as well.
Coming in at No. 17 was Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood, chief executive officer of the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division and religious leader of Englewood’s Cong. Shomrei Emunah.
Genack was much in the news this past year, taking an active role in the Agriprocessors controversy, where, said an OU spokesman, he worked with the group’s management to eliminate violations of civil law, improve their treatment of employees, and hire a new CEO who was not a member of the Rubashkin family, which owns the kosher meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa.
According to the spokesman, while Agriprocessors knew that it was at risk of losing its OU certification, “at the same time, [Genack] demanded that there be no rush to judgment and that the Rubashkins be given their day in court and not be convicted by a jury of public opinion.”
Genack – general editor of the new OU press – also served as editor of “An Exalted Evening: The Seder Night,” a collection of commentaries on seder themes by his mentor, the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
“He is a man of many interests and many skills and a great credit to the Orthodox Union,” said the spokesman.
Hitting the list at No. 24 was Teaneck resident Rabbi Michael Greenbaum, vice chancellor and chief operating officer of The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the institution, he has also overseen the physical development of the JTS campus and the professionalization of operations there.
Greenbaum, an assistant professor of educational administration, is secretary of the National Ramah Commission. He is an expert on Louis Finkelstein, JTS chancellor from 1940 to 1972, and the Conservative movement and his writings on these have been widely published, notably in his 2001 book “Louis Finkelstein and the Conservative Movement: Conflict & Growth” (Global Publications).
“It takes highly educated and inspired leaders, men and women of exceptional ability and commitment, to lead today’s American Jewish community. It is wonderful that the larger Jewish community has recognized Rabbi Greenbaum’s ability and talent,” said JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen, who noted that more than one-third of the rabbis on the list are alumni of the school.
No. 37 was Rabbi Mark S. Golub, president and executive producer of Fort Lee- based Shalom TV. The national Jewish cable television network reaches more than 30 million households, according to a spokesman.
In addition to hosting news and public affairs roundtables, Golub teaches two educational series on Shalom TV: “From The Aleph Bet,” a lesson-driven program on learning to read and understand Hebrew; and “Jewish 101,” which aims to “correct common misconceptions about Judaism and Jewish life.” He also developed the first Talmud series on television, “Dimensions of the Daf,” taught by Rabbi Mordechai Becher, and worked with Rabbi Michael Laitman in producing episodes introducing Kabbalah. Shalom TV’s children’s programs include “Mr. Bookstein’s Store” and “Story Time.”
Golub did his undergraduate studies at Columbia University, where he created and hosted “Approaches to Religious Concepts” on WKCR radio. While at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as the inaugural assistant editor of Sh’ma magazine. After ordination in 1972, he founded two congregations committed to adult Jewish learning and served as director of public affairs for WMCA radio in New York City.
In 1979, Golub created the the nonprofit organization Jewish Education in Media and its weekly program “L’Chayim,” an interview series that, he said, is one of the longest-running Jewish-oriented shows in America. In 1991, he created the first Russian-language channel in the United States, “The Russian Television Network of America,” for Jewish immigrants here from the former Soviet Union.
For the entire lists of selected rabbis and congregations, visit www.newsweek.com/id/192476.