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

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.

1Moses13th Cen. C.E. 
2Jesus of Nazarethca. 4 B.C.E. - ca. 30 C.E. 
3Albert Einstein1879-1955physicist
4Sigmund Freud1856-1936psychiatrist
5Abrahamca. 20th-19th cen B.C.E.;
according to the Bible,
1813-1638 B.C.E.
6Saul of Tarsus (Saint Paul)4 - 64 C.E. 
7Karl Marx1818-1883philosopher
8Theodor Herzl1860-1904writer
9Maryb. ca. 20 B.C.E. 
10Baruch de Spinoza1632-1677philosopher
11Davidfl. 1000 B.C.E. 
12Anne Frank1929-1945diarist
13The ProphetsBiblical times 
14Judas Iscariotca. 4 B.C.E. - ca. 30 C.E. 
15Gustav Mahler1860-1911composer
17Niels Bohr1885-1962physicist
18Moses Mendelssohn1729-1786philosopher
19Paul Ehrlich1854-1915medical scientist
20Rashi1040-1105rabbinical commentator
21Benjamin Disraeli1804-1881politician
22Franz Kafka1883-1924author
23David Ben-Gurion1886-1973founder of Israel
24Hillelca. 70 B.C.E. - 10 C.E.theologian
25John Von Neumann1903-1957mathematician
26Simon Bar Kokhbafl. 135 C.E.general, leader
27Marcel Proust1871-1922novelist
28Mayer Rothschild1744-1812financier
29Solomonca. 990 - ca. 933 B.C.E. 
30Heinrich Heine1797-1856poet
31Selman Waksman1888-1973developed antibiotics
32Giacomo Meyerbeer1791-1864created grand opera
33Isaac Luria1534-1572kabbalist
34Gregory Pincus1903-1967developed birth control pill
35Leon Trotsky1879-1940facilitator of the Russian Revolution
36David Ricardo1772-1823founded classical school of economics
37Alfred Dreyfus1859-1935center of 1895 Dreyfus affair in Paris
38Leo Szilard1898-1964physicist; cyberneticist
39Mark Rothko1903-1970painter
40Ferdinand Cohn1828-1898bacteriologist
41Samuel Gompers1850-1924labor leader
42Gertrude Stein1874-1946author
43Albert Michelson1852-1931physicist
44Philo Judaeusca. 20 B.C.E. - 40 C.E.philosopher
45Golda Meir1898-1978prime minister of Israel
46The Vilna Gaon1720-1797rabbinical scholar
47Henri Bergson1859-1941philosopher
48The Baal Shem Tov1700-1790religious reformer
49Felix Mendelssohn1809-1847musician
50Louis B. Mayer1885-1957motion picture pioneer
51Judah Halevyca. 1075-1141philosopher and poet
52Haym Salomon1740-1785Revolutionary War patriot
53Johanan ben Zakkaica. 80 C.E.general, leader
54Arnold Schoenberg1874-1951composer
55Emile Durkheim1858-1917sociologist
56Betty Friedan1921-feminist; founder of NOW
57David Sarnoff1891-1971broadcaster
58Lorenzo Da Ponte1749-1838Mozart's librettist
59Julius Rosenwald1862-1932philanthropist
60Casimir Funk *1884-1967discoverer of vitamins
61George Gershwin1898-1937composer
62Chaim Weizmann1874-1952first president of Israel
63Franz Boas1858-1942anthropologist
64Sabbatai Zevi1626-1676religious leader
65Leonard Bernstein1918-1990musician
66Flavius Josephusca. 38-ca. 100 C.E.historian
67Walter Benjamin1892-1940literary critic, journalist, philosopher
68Louis Brandeis1856-1941jurist
69Emile Berliner1851-1929inventor
70Sarah Bernhardt1844-1923actress
71Levi Strauss1829-1902clothier
73Menachem Begin1913-1992politician
74Anna Freud1895-1982psychologist
75Queen Esther5th cen. B.C.E.Biblical queen
76Martin Buber1878-1965philosopher, theologian, social activist
77Jonas Salk1914-physician
78Jerome Robbins1918-choreographer
79Henry Kissinger1923-politician
80Wilhelm Steinitzca. 1835-1900chess champion
81Arthur Miller1915-playwright
82Daniel Mendoza1764-1836boxer
83Stephen Sondheim1930-writer of musicals
84Emma Goldman1869-1940anarchist, feminist
85Sir Moses Montefiore1787-1885leader
86Jerome Kern1885-1945writer of musicals
87Boris Pasternak1890-1960novelist, poet
88Harry Houdini1874-1926magician
89Edward Bernays1981-founder of public relations
90Leopold Auer1845-1930violinist
91Groucho Marx1890-1977comedian
92Man Ray1890-1976artist
93Henrietta Szold1860-1945founder of Hadassah
94Benny Goodman1909-1986clarinetist and bandleader
95Steven Spielberg1947-filmmaker
96Marc Chagall1887-1985painter
97Bob Dylan1941-musician
98Sandy Koufax1935-baseball player
99Bernard Berenson1865-1959art critic
100Jerry Siegel and Joe Shusterb. 1914; 1914-1992comics 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
100 Most Influential
23Jesus of Nazareth
310Albert Einstein
469Sigmund Freud
66St. Paul
727Karl Marx
3482Gregory Pincus

* Casimir Funk: Desire Funk Laz ( ; 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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