Join us this February as we explore a brand new theme in Eser: Top Ten Influential Jews. Our committee and team of instructors are busy preparing for another great year! Participants in the program will be guided by five young leaders in exploring the lives and lessons of these influential Jews.

1. Sandy Koufax, pitcher for the Dodgers from 1955–1966, was famous for his athletic ability and for his refusal to pitch Game One of the 1965 World Series when it fell on Yom Kippur.

2. Golda Meir moved from Milwaukee to Israel in her early twenties and became the first Israeli female prime minister in 1969; former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion called her “the best man in the government.

3. Moses took the nation of Israel out of Egypt and through the desert, where he instituted national legal, militaristic, and religious structures, then died within sight of the “Promised Land.”

4. Hillel and Shammai, two leading rabbis of the early 1st century, founded opposing schools of Jewish thought that debated matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology, both critical in shaping Judaism as it is today. 

5. Moses Maimonides (aka Rambam) the most important philosopher, legal authority, and communal leader in all of Jewish history after the biblical period, made his living as a court physician during troubled times in medieval Spain.

6. Solomon Schechter, a brilliant rabbi who left his professorship in England to energize Conservative Judaism in New York, was one of four men who helped the Jewish denominational movements take root in America.

7. Menachem Schneerson, the last leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, transformed what had been a relatively small Hassidic group into a worldwide movement, leaving no region of the world without at least one Chabad House. 

8. Sally Priesand, the first female rabbi in America, received ordination from the Reform movement in 1972, paving the way for those after her: Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist 1974), Amy Eilberg (Conservative 1985), and Sarah Hurwitz (Modern Orthodox Rabbah, 2010).

9. Hannah Senesh parachuted into Yugoslavia to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to Auschwitz. Despite being tortured she refused to reveal details of her British Army mission. This heroine composed the poem “Eli, Eli” sung on many national occasions in Israel.

10. Stan Lee, a renowned American comic book writer, editor, producer, publisher, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, modeled many of his comic book heroes after Jewish icons. 

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