Tweeting congressman on US Jews top 50 list


A Jewish-American newspaper has named a congressman who lost his seat following an online sex scandal as one of the 50 people who have made the most impact in US Jewish news this year.

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has had a bad year, after he accidentally posted an obscene picture of himself on Twitter last June and then denied it. But he can take comfort in the fact that he has been included in the Forward 50, an annual list of "Jewish men and women who have made a significant impact on the Jewish story in the past year".

While Mr Weiner is described as "a national laughingstock and an embarrassment" for one of the most "spectacular political self-immolations in memory", others on the list are praised for their contributions.

Among them are actress Natalie Portman, celebrated as "one of Hollywood's leading Jewish lights", architect Daniel Libeskind, chosen to rebuild the site of the World Trade Centre, and playwright Tony Kushner, who was at the centre of a debate on free speech earlier this year when his invitation to a graduation ceremony was rescinded because of his criticism of Israel.

Several politicians are noted, including House Majority leader Eric Cantor and Rahm Emmanuel, formerly President Obama's chief of staff and now the mayor of Chicago.

Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot during a killing spree last January but who has showed "resilience and strength" in her recovery, is also featured.

President Obama was named in the honorary 51st slot, traditionally reserved for a non-Jew.

"Support him, loathe him or feel wildly ambivalent," said the editors, "whatever you think of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States has done more than any other non-Jew we can think of to shape the American Jewish story in 2011."

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