L.A. Jews in ‘Forward 50’

Four Angelenos are among the 50 American Jews selected by the Forward newspaper for its annual list of newsmakers, which was published on the New York-based newspaper’s Web site on Nov. 12. 

Scooter Braun, manager of teen sensation Justin Bieber; Rabbi Sharon Brous, the spiritual leader of IKAR; Roz Rothstein, founder and CEO of StandWithUs; and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) were included on the diverse list. 

Although two of the L.A.-based names on the Forward’s list have been included on similar Jewish lists in the past — Brous has been on Newsweek’s “most influential rabbis” list and Rothstein was named as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post in 2011 — Braun and Sherman hadn’t been seen before on lists of big-name Jews. 

Sherman and Braun each had big years, though. Braun was profiled in the New Yorker and added to his stable of entertainer clients Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen and PSY, the Korean performer behind the surprise hit “Gangnam Style.” Sherman, meanwhile, retained his seat in Congress by winning a bitter and expensive race against fellow Democrat Howard Berman.

Rothstein and Brous, by contrast, were lauded by the Forward for their work as founders of two very different startup organizations, each of which has grown rapidly under their leadership. 

StandWithUs, a right-leaning, pro-Israel group that celebrated its 10th anniversary in January, is now a $4 million-a-year operation with 15 branches across the country. IKAR, Brous’ 8-year-old non-denominational and social justice-minded spiritual community, “is thriving so profoundly,” the Forward states, “that its leaders are planning to build what they call ‘a living laboratory for 21st-century Jewish life’ — a center that will include sacred space, an art studio, a music lab, a library and a café with kosher, organic food.”

The 2012 edition of the Forward’s annual end-of-year list — which was produced by the paper’s staff despite having lost access to its offices, which are still without electricity after Hurricane Sandy — ranges broadly. Topping the list are casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, TV writer Lena Dunham, composer Philip Glass, gymnast Aly Raisman and Rabbi David Zwiebel, who leads Agudath Israel of America, which represents devoutly Orthodox Jews. 

A few other West Coast Jews made the list as well, including University of California President Mark Yudof, Evan Bloom, the young founder of a San Francisco deli, and University of California, Berkeley astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2011.