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The 100 Most Influential Jews of All Time


Related Pages:
- Famous Jews
- 100 Most Influential People in History
- Other Lists of 100 Influential People
The list below is from the book The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of all Time (Citadel Press Book, 1994), written by Michael Shapiro. Shapiro is a noted composer who lives in New York.

The book features excellent essays about each individual listed, noting accomplishments and discussion each person's influence. Additionally, biographical information about all of these individuals is widely available on line and in libraries.

The rankings listed here do not represent the opinions of Adherents.com.

From the introduction:

This book ranks the 100 most influential Jews of all time. In their areas of human endeavor each of them worked a special influence on mankind. They changed the way we live and think. Even the few who touched only the souls and minds of Jews are important to us because of their defining presence on Jewish identity.

Some of the Jewish 100 modified their Judaism into something new. Saul of Tarsus became Paul, disciple of a man he claimed was the Jewish Messiah. Spinoza applied a logic that carried him straight out of Judaism. Karl Marx imposed an almost biblical sense of history to prove the imperative of his political ideal. Whether their modifications improved life will always generate discussion and argument.

Rank Name Lived Description
1 Moses 13th Cen. C.E.  
2 Jesus of Nazareth ca. 4 B.C.E. - ca. 30 C.E.  
3 Albert Einstein 1879-1955 physicist
4 Sigmund Freud 1856-1936 psychiatrist
5 Abraham ca. 20th-19th cen B.C.E.;
according to the Bible,
1813-1638 B.C.E.
 
6 Saul of Tarsus (Saint Paul) 4 - 64 C.E.  
7 Karl Marx 1818-1883 philosopher
8 Theodor Herzl 1860-1904 writer
9 Mary b. ca. 20 B.C.E.  
10 Baruch de Spinoza 1632-1677 philosopher
11 David fl. 1000 B.C.E.  
12 Anne Frank 1929-1945 diarist
13 The Prophets Biblical times  
14 Judas Iscariot ca. 4 B.C.E. - ca. 30 C.E.  
15 Gustav Mahler 1860-1911 composer
16 Maimonides 1135-1204 theologian
17 Niels Bohr 1885-1962 physicist
18 Moses Mendelssohn 1729-1786 philosopher
19 Paul Ehrlich 1854-1915 medical scientist
20 Rashi 1040-1105 rabbinical commentator
21 Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881 politician
22 Franz Kafka 1883-1924 author
23 David Ben-Gurion 1886-1973 founder of Israel
24 Hillel ca. 70 B.C.E. - 10 C.E. theologian
25 John Von Neumann 1903-1957 mathematician
26 Simon Bar Kokhba fl. 135 C.E. general, leader
27 Marcel Proust 1871-1922 novelist
28 Mayer Rothschild 1744-1812 financier
29 Solomon ca. 990 - ca. 933 B.C.E.  
30 Heinrich Heine 1797-1856 poet
31 Selman Waksman 1888-1973 developed antibiotics
32 Giacomo Meyerbeer 1791-1864 created grand opera
33 Isaac Luria 1534-1572 kabbalist
34 Gregory Pincus 1903-1967 developed birth control pill
35 Leon Trotsky 1879-1940 facilitator of the Russian Revolution
36 David Ricardo 1772-1823 founded classical school of economics
37 Alfred Dreyfus 1859-1935 center of 1895 Dreyfus affair in Paris
38 Leo Szilard 1898-1964 physicist; cyberneticist
39 Mark Rothko 1903-1970 painter
40 Ferdinand Cohn 1828-1898 bacteriologist
41 Samuel Gompers 1850-1924 labor leader
42 Gertrude Stein 1874-1946 author
43 Albert Michelson 1852-1931 physicist
44 Philo Judaeus ca. 20 B.C.E. - 40 C.E. philosopher
45 Golda Meir 1898-1978 prime minister of Israel
46 The Vilna Gaon 1720-1797 rabbinical scholar
47 Henri Bergson 1859-1941 philosopher
48 The Baal Shem Tov 1700-1790 religious reformer
49 Felix Mendelssohn 1809-1847 musician
50 Louis B. Mayer 1885-1957 motion picture pioneer
51 Judah Halevy ca. 1075-1141 philosopher and poet
52 Haym Salomon 1740-1785 Revolutionary War patriot
53 Johanan ben Zakkai ca. 80 C.E. general, leader
54 Arnold Schoenberg 1874-1951 composer
55 Emile Durkheim 1858-1917 sociologist
56 Betty Friedan 1921- feminist; founder of NOW
57 David Sarnoff 1891-1971 broadcaster
58 Lorenzo Da Ponte 1749-1838 Mozart's librettist
59 Julius Rosenwald 1862-1932 philanthropist
60 Casimir Funk * 1884-1967 discoverer of vitamins
61 George Gershwin 1898-1937 composer
62 Chaim Weizmann 1874-1952 first president of Israel
63 Franz Boas 1858-1942 anthropologist
64 Sabbatai Zevi 1626-1676 religious leader
65 Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990 musician
66 Flavius Josephus ca. 38-ca. 100 C.E. historian
67 Walter Benjamin 1892-1940 literary critic, journalist, philosopher
68 Louis Brandeis 1856-1941 jurist
69 Emile Berliner 1851-1929 inventor
70 Sarah Bernhardt 1844-1923 actress
71 Levi Strauss 1829-1902 clothier
72 Nahmanides 1195-1270 scholar
73 Menachem Begin 1913-1992 politician
74 Anna Freud 1895-1982 psychologist
75 Queen Esther 5th cen. B.C.E. Biblical queen
76 Martin Buber 1878-1965 philosopher, theologian, social activist
77 Jonas Salk 1914- physician
78 Jerome Robbins 1918- choreographer
79 Henry Kissinger 1923- politician
80 Wilhelm Steinitz ca. 1835-1900 chess champion
81 Arthur Miller 1915- playwright
82 Daniel Mendoza 1764-1836 boxer
83 Stephen Sondheim 1930- writer of musicals
84 Emma Goldman 1869-1940 anarchist, feminist
85 Sir Moses Montefiore 1787-1885 leader
86 Jerome Kern 1885-1945 writer of musicals
87 Boris Pasternak 1890-1960 novelist, poet
88 Harry Houdini 1874-1926 magician
89 Edward Bernays 1981- founder of public relations
90 Leopold Auer 1845-1930 violinist
91 Groucho Marx 1890-1977 comedian
92 Man Ray 1890-1976 artist
93 Henrietta Szold 1860-1945 founder of Hadassah
94 Benny Goodman 1909-1986 clarinetist and bandleader
95 Steven Spielberg 1947- filmmaker
96 Marc Chagall 1887-1985 painter
97 Bob Dylan 1941- musician
98 Sandy Koufax 1935- baseball player
99 Bernard Berenson 1865-1959 art critic
100 Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster b. 1914; 1914-1992 comics book artist/writer, creators of Superman




There are seven people who are on both the "Jewish 100" list by Shapiro and the "100 Most Influential People in History" list by Michael Hart:

Jewish 100
Rank
100 Most Influential
People
Name
1 15 Moses
2 3 Jesus of Nazareth
3 10 Albert Einstein
4 69 Sigmund Freud
6 6 St. Paul
7 27 Karl Marx
34 82 Gregory Pincus



* Casimir Funk: Desire Funk Laz (TRLaz@usaweddings.com ; P.O. Box 8682 Albany NY 12208), Casimir Funk's granddaughter, wrote to this website. She said that Casimir Funk was not Jewish. According to Laz, Casimir Funk "was very annoyed that anyone, any religion attempted to lay claim to him."

If this is the case, it would appear that Casimir Funk lacked Jewish identity, regardless of whether or not he was ethnically Jewish.

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Web page created 7 July 2001. Last modified 15 November 2005.
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