|THE JEWISH LISTS:
Chicago's Top 100 Jews of the 20th Century
1. Philip Klutznick, legendary developer, statesman and Jewish leader, created the suburb of Park Forest, developed Old Orchard, and built Water Tower Place. In government, he served in seven administrations from Franklin Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. He was international president of B'nai B'rith, president of the World Jewish Congress, founder of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and one of the creators of the Museum of the Diaspora. He also played a large part in the creation and development of the state of Israel and was the backstage contact responsible for the Soviets allowing Jews to leave the country.
2. Julius Rosenwald was president and chairman of the board of Sears, Roebuck and played a major role in its development and success. An extraordinary philanthropist, he founded the Museum of Science and Industry, gave significant amounts of money to Jewish causes locally, nationally and internationally, and built thousands of schools for African-Americans in the rural South.
3. Jacob "Jack" Arvey was the powerful alderman of Chicago's 24th Ward -- President Franklin Roosevelt is alleged to have called it his strongest ward in the entire country. Later, he became chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee. He was instrumental in helping two distinguished Illinois liberals, Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas, become governor and U.S. senator respectively. He also is said to have helped convince President Truman to recognize the state of Israel at its founding in 1948.
4. Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch was the spiritual leader of Sinai Congregation from 1880 until his death. He won national recognition as an author, scholar, orator, civic leader and advocate of Reform Judaism, and also brought many innovative and controversial teachings to the movement.
5. Saul Alinsky, a product of the Maxwell Street area, was a nationally known community organizer and social activist. His book "Reveille for Radicals" became the bible for community organizers throughout the country.
6. Rabbi Solomon Goldman, spiritual leader of Anshe Emet Congregation for nearly 25 years beginning in 1929, was a Zionist leader and guiding light of the Conservative movement. He wrote numerous much-admired books on the Bible and Talmud; published translations of Hebrew and Yiddish novels; and organized the first modern Jewish day school in Chicago.
7. Bernard Horwich was a Lithuanian immigrant who came to Chicago in 1880 and started his career selling stationery on the streets of the West Side. He went on to become president of two banks and a prominent Jewish leader in community and charitable organizations. He was also active in Zionist causes and did much to help European Jews.
8. Adolph Kraus was a Bohemian immigrant who went on to become a successful lawyer and civic and Jewish communal leader. He was international president of B'nai B'rith from 1905 to 1925 and helped to establish the Anti-Defamation League.
9. Arthur Goldberg, one of 11 children of a Maxwell Street fruit and vegetable peddler, was a noted labor lawyer, secretary of labor, United Nations ambassador and U.S. Supreme Court justice.
10. Henry Horner was the first Jewish governor of Illinois, elected in 1932 with the campaign theme of "With Horner we'll turn the corner." He was reelected in 1936 and served until he died in office in 1940.
11. Sidney Yates served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 until his retirement in 1998, representing Chicago's North Side continuously except for one term. He was a passionate advocate for government funding for the arts and for environmental protection, and helped bring into existence the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
12. Irv Kupcinet, Chicago's beloved "Kup," has written a people-and-events column for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 50 years, knows everybody who is anybody and everything that's happening in Chicago.
13. Saul Bellow, Nobel laureate and one of the country's greatest novelists, is a native son of Chicago's Jewish Humboldt Park neighborhood. His novels, many of them set in Chicago, include "Herzog," and "Humboldt's Gift."
14. Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, a renowned Talmudic scholar, led Anshe Kanesses Israel, known as the "Russiche Shul," for nearly half a century. He also furthered the cause of Jewish education in the community and was instrumental in the rescue of many Jews from Europe during the Holocaust.
15. Elmer Gertz was raised in the Marks Nathan Jewish Orphan Home and went on to become one of the city's top civil rights lawyers.
16. Benny Goodman, the clarinetist and band leader known as the King of Swing, was born in the Maxwell Street area and learned to play his instrument in a synagogue music program. He performed before royalty and in Carnegie Hall, and renowned composers including Bartok and Copland wrote clarinet music for him.
17. Rabbi Ralph Simon was the spiritual leader at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park for 44 years. A national leader within the Conservative movement, he also founded the original Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and was national president of the movement's Rabbinical Assembly.
18. Dr. Theodore B. Sachs spent his life fighting tuberculosis, which affected many immigrants living in crowded ghettos. He helped establish the city's first Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium and was its first supervising physician.
19. Hannah Greenebaum Solomon was a prominent civic reformer and one of the founders of the National Council of Jewish Women, the first Jewish women's organization. She served as president of the organization's Chicago section -- its founding section -- for 12 years.
20. Henry Crown, along with his two brothers, started Material Service Corporation in 1919 and launched a business empire that came to include ownership of the Empire State Building and interests in the Hilton Corporation and General Dynamics. He was a decorated colonel serving in the Corps of Engineers in World War II. The Crown family has been a major source of funds for numerous Jewish causes, with special support for Jewish education.
21. Abram Nicholas Pritzker, known as A.N., was the patriarch of one of Chicago's most successful and most philanthropic families. Like Henry Crown, he grew up in the Wicker Park neighborhood, and later earned a law degree from Harvard. He helped develop a diversified group of companies that included the Hyatt Hotel chain, Hammond Organ and McCall's magazine. He and his family have made substantial financial contributions to numerous institutions in Chicago, throughout the country and in Israel.
22. Pearl Franklin was one of the earliest leaders of Hadassah, serving as president of its Chicago chapter from 1921 to 1930. This dynamic leader was also an attorney and teacher who had come to Chicago from Huntington, Ind., where hers was the only Jewish family in town.
23. Rabbi Jacob Weinstein, the spiritual leader of Kehilath Anshe Maariv (KAM) in Hyde Park from 1939 to 1967, was known as one of the country's leading social activist rabbis. He preached to his congregation that social activism was a religious duty of Jews and practiced what he preached, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and joining a delegation of anti-Vietnam War clergy in helping to seek solutions for ending the war.
24. Studs Terkel, besides being a longtime Chicago radio and television personality, developed a new type of literature: His books, including "Working" and "The Good War," are based on taped interviews with individuals from many professions and levels of society.
25. Philip L. Seman was for decades the head of the Jewish People's Institute, which in its heyday included an auditorium, theater, lectures, classes, an orchestra, swimming pool, gym and health club, day and summer camps, arts and crafts and meeting space for many clubs and organizations. In the days before the invention of the automobile, the institute served as the center of life for much of the city's Jewish population.
26. Gene Siskel was for years the respected movie critic of the Chicago Tribune and half (along with Roger Ebert) of the wildly successful TV show which brought lively, intelligent film criticism to the television audience. Siskel was involved in Chicago's Jewish community and participated in and contributed to many organizations. He died an untimely death from a brain tumor in 1999.
27. Sidney Hillman, a Lithuanian immigrant, was one of the city's most prominent progressive labor activists. He was a leader in the bitter garment workers' strike of 1910 and later served as president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
28. Sol Polk, the son of Romanian immigrants who peddled irons and ironing boards door to door during the Depression, started Polk Brothers in 1935 when he was 18 years old. It grew to become the city's largest appliance chain, with stores throughout the Chicago area. A pioneering merchandising concept, it was one of the first discount stores and the forerunner of such chains as Best Buy and Circuit City.
29. Hyman G. Rickover was an admiral in the U.S. Navy and considered "the father of the atomic submarine." He grew up on Maxwell Street; his family later moved to Lawndale.
30. Scott Turow, a Chicago attorney, gained instant fame with his best-selling suspense novel "Presumed Innocent." He has since written several others in the same genre.
31. Barney Ross, legendary Jewish boxer, grew up in the Maxwell Street area. He became a Golden Gloves champion, then turned pro and, in 1932, took the world's lightweight title. He later won the junior welterweight and welterweight titles. In World War II, he became a war hero and was wounded on Guadalcanal.
32. Ann Landers (real name Eppie Lederer) has written her popular advice column for more than 40 years, touching on nearly every social and emotional issue imaginable.
33. Edward Levi, the grandson of the famous Rabbi Emil Hirsch, was an attorney and educator. He served as dean of the University of Chicago law school and was president of the university from 1968 to 1975, its first Jewish president. He also served as attorney general under President Gerald Ford.
34. Ben Hecht worked on Chicago newspapers beginning in 1910, then used that experience when he teamed up with Charles MacArthur to write the classic Chicago newspaper drama "The Front Page" in 1928. He later wrote for the movies. Hecht became an ardent supporter of Israel and wrote and produced a number of pageants that raised money for the Jewish state.
35. Arthur Rubloff was a major real estate developer in Chicago as well as nationally and internationally. He developed Carl Sandburg Village and Evergreen Park Shopping Plaza and helped the Magnificent Mile development on North Michigan Avenue.
36. Nathan Cummings founded Consolidated Foods and built it into one of the largest food processing, distributing and retailing companies in the food industry. It now includes Best Kosher and Sinai Kosher products.
37. Leo Melamed is the former head of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He has been credited with being the innovator of a number of new financial instruments and has brought about many changes in the venerable institution.
38. Jacob M. Loeb, a well-known German-Jewish businessman, served as the long-time president of the Chicago Hebrew Institute; was active in the Chicago Jewish Relief Committee for War Sufferers, organized in 1914; and was president of the Chicago Board of Education from 1914 to 1917.
39. William Paley grew up in the Maxwell Street area, the son of a cigar maker. His father later became a cigar tycoon with his La Palina brand. Paley became interested in the fledgling radio business after working in advertising for his father. He went on to found CBS and served as its president or chairman for more than 50 years.
40. Danny Newman, the dean of theatrical publicists, has been the publicist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago since its inception in 1954. His book, "Subscribe Now," is considered the bible of marketing and is used throughout the world.
41. Newton Minow, a Chicago attorney, was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and made a lasting contribution to the national idiom with his remark describing television as "a vast wasteland."
42. Eric Rothner is one of the most involved, generous and wise philanthropists in the Jewish community today. An amazingly insightful and perceptive man, he gives tirelessly of himself in support of an incredibly broad range of causes, individuals and organizations in Chicago, Israel and throughout the Jewish world. His breadth of interests is breath-taking; his acts of chesed, kindness and good deeds, Herculean; his sensitivity to those in need something to behold; his commitment to, love for and concern about the Jewish community and the Jewish people, truly inspiring.
43. Dr. Isaac Abt was a trailblazer in the care of premature infants and in child nutrition. He helped establish the Sarah Morris Children's Hospital at Michael Reese Hospital, where he served as attending physician, and was one of the first doctors to define and promote pediatric medicine.
44. Rabbi Saul Silber guided what is now the Hebrew Theological College from a tiny, struggling school to an internationally known training ground for Orthodox rabbis, teachers and scholars. During the 24 years that he headed the yeshiva, he also served as an eloquent spokesman for the cause of religious Zionism and devised a Hebrew study method still in use today.
45. Barney Balaban, along with partner Sam Katz, created a chain of deluxe movie and stage-show theater palaces that, at its peak, included 125 theaters in Chicago and the Midwest. A product of the Maxwell Street neighborhood, where his father owned a tiny grocery store, he later became president of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.
46. Dr. Joseph Boliver De Lee was a world-famous obstetrician who organized a team of doctors to deliver babies in the Maxwell Street area. He later helped to found Chicago Lying-In Hospital at the University of Chicago; was one of the founders of the American College of Surgeons; and wrote three standard obstetrical textbooks.
47. Sid Luckman The greatest of all quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears, he led the Bears to a championship and still holds many team records.
48. Aaron Bohrod, who grew up in Chicago, was an American realist painter who won international recognition.
49. Max Bressler was a tireless worker for Zionism and served as president of the Zionist Organization of America. He later became president of the Jewish National Fund of America.
50. Max Adler, Julius Rosenwald's brother-in-law, had an unusual dual career as vice president of Sears and a concert violinist. He studied music in Berlin and later helped many young musicians launch their careers, among them Isaac Stern. He also established the Adler Planetarium in 1930.
51. Adolph J. Sabath, a Bohemian Jewish immigrant, for a time held the record for length of time served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Beginning in 1906, he served for 23 terms, representing Chicago's Southwest Side, and was chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. He was known for his advocacy of immigration and social welfare reform.
52. Leon Zolotkoff, a Russian immigrant, was instrumental in establishing the early Yiddish press in Chicago. He was one of the early supporters of the Hebrew Literary Society and a founder of the Chicago Zion Society, the first organized Zionist group in America, founded around the turn of the century.
53. Max Shulman, an early Zionist leader, organized a "Bread for Palestine" campaign during World War I, one of the first such efforts. He was one of the founders of the Knights of Zion; today's Zionist Organization of Chicago is its descendent.
54. Abel Davis came to Chicago from Lithuania and, as a teenager, fought in the Spanish-American War. Throughout World War I, he commanded the 132nd U.S. Infantry of Illinois, which fought in the historic Battle of Verdun. He was highly decorated for bravery. After the war, he became active in Chicago Jewish charitable affairs and headed many war relief drives.
55. Rabbi Ernst M. Lorge, a refugee from Germany, came to America in 1936. He became a chaplain in the U.S. Army and in that capacity returned to Germany and helped to liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp. He was the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel and one of the founders of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Reform summer camp. He was also active in the civil rights movement both locally and nationally.
56. Louis Eckstein was a principal founder and patron of Ravinia Park, Chicago's outdoor summer concert venue located in Highland Park.
57. Dr. Morris Fishbein was the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association for 25 years, exerting great influence on American medicine.
58. Todros Geller was born in Ukraine and came to Chicago in 1918, where he soon gained recognition for his paintings, woodcuts, wood carvings and etchings. His work is imbued with Jewish tradition and much of it depicts the joys and sorrow of shtetl and ghetto life. He also served as head of the art department of the Jewish People's Institute.
59. M. Ph. Ginsburg, an immigrant from Russia, was one of the founders of the Yiddish press in Chicago. He published the Yiddish-language Daily Jewish Courier, one of the first Yiddish publications to be sympathetic to the Zionist movement.
60. Ben Aronin was an educator, writer and composer who for many years was on the staff of Anshe Emet Synagogue and the College of Jewish Studies. He wrote and directed many Jewish pageants, Purim plays and radio and television scripts.
61. Alfred S. Alschuler gained a reputation for his architecture in the commercial realm (including the 360 North Michigan building) as well as for his synagogue buildings. These included Temple Isaiah (now KAM Isaiah Israel), B'nai Sholom, the former Sinai Temple on Grand Boulevard, Anshe Emet Synagogue and Am Echod in Waukegan.
62. Lillian Herstein was a dynamic teacher, suffragist and labor leader who helped to organize the Chicago Teachers Union. She was also one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union.
63. Milton Horn, sculptor and artist, moved to Chicago from the east and lived here from 1949 until his death in 1995. His works can be seen in Chicago and in many other parts of the country on public buildings and synagogues, including at West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest and the Jewish Federation building in downtown Chicago.
64. Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Meisels built Chicago's Orthodox community after the model of the one he had led in Europe. A testament to his influence is the fact that two Jewish day schools in the city are named for him.
65. Meyer Levin wrote two classic and well-received novels. "The Old Bunch" portrayed the generation of Lawndale-area Jews that he grew up with, and was widely praised as the definitive Jewish coming-of-age tale. "Compulsion," about the Leopold and Loeb murder case, became a best-seller and was made into a play and a movie. He later moved to Israel.
66. Julian W. Mack was a brilliant jurist and Zionist leader. He graduated from Harvard Law School, where, along with Louis Brandeis, he founded the Harvard Law Review. In Chicago he served in a number of courts, ending up at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to which he was appointed by President William Howard Taft.
67. Rabbi David Polish was a seminal figure in Reform Judaism and is credited with being the leader who first turned the movement toward Zionism. He founded Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston and is considered a founder of the neo-traditional movement, helping Reform Jews to recover many traditions and customs that earlier Reform leaders had discarded.
68. Leonard Dubkin wrote a nature column for the Chicago Tribune and the Lerner Newspapers and was the author of six books about nature in the city, including "The White Lady" and "Wolf Point." Long before the environmental movement, he was among the first authors in the country to warn of the dangers of failing to conserve our natural resources.
69. Harry M. Fisher, a Lithuanian immigrant who attended law school at night while working as a capmaker, went on to serve as a highly respected judge for almost half a century.
70. David Mamet, playwright and screenwriter, brought a new, brutally realistic sensibility to the modern American theater with works like "American Buffalo" and "Glengarry Glen Ross."
71. Hugo Pam was a prominent Chicago attorney, later elected judge of the Superior Court of Cook County in 1911 and reelected three times. Renowned for his legal mind and oratorical eloquence, he became a national leader in Jewish and Zionist organizations and was much sought after as a speaker at Zionist gatherings.
72. Leon M. Despres served for 20 years as the independent alderman of the Fifth Ward and was widely known as "the conscience of the City Council."
73. Morris B. Sachs started out as a door-to-door dry goods peddler in Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood and became the owner of a large clothing store in Englewood bearing his name. He also served as city treasurer under Mayor Martin Kennelly. As the sponsor of an amateur hour on radio from 1934 to 1957, his name became a household word among Chicago families.
74. Rabbi Maurice Pekarsky was the first director of the University of Chicago Hillel, serving from 1944 to 1962. In 1946, he launched the famous Latke vs. Hamantashen debate, an exercise in satire that continues to this day.
75. Dr. Julius Hess was the inventor of the incubator for premature babies. He was on the staff at Michael Reese Hospital for many years and established the world's first nursery for premature infants there in 1922.
76. Bertha Read Rissman served as an early president of Hadassah and was among the most prominent leaders in the organization during the 1920s and '30s.
77. Dr. Max Dolnick was a dedicated family doctor, Yiddish scholar and teacher who became a noted Labor Zionist leader.
78. Ruth Rothstein was president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai Hospital and the affiliated Schwab Rehabilitation Center from 1977 to 1991.
79. Abe Saperstein founded the Harlem Globetrotters in 1927 and coached, guided and nurtured the team for 40 years.
80. Bertrand Goldberg is the architect of many well-known buildings, but is especially famous for Marina City Towers, the innovative circular 60-story towers in downtown Chicago.
81. Rabbi Bernard Felsenthal was Chicago's first Reform rabbi and one of the founders of the Reform movement in America. He was a co-founder of Sinai Congregation and its first spiritual leader. When he was in his 70s, he went against prevailing Reform sentiment of the time and ardently embraced the Zionist cause.
82. Mark Krug, a professor at the University of Chicago, was also a Zionist leader and advocate of Jewish education.
83. Mel Tormé, "the Velvet Fog," was one of the country's best-known and most respected pop-jazz singers. Tormé, who died in 1999, grew up in the South Shore community.
84. Paul Muni, the famed actor, started life as Muni Weisenfreund, appearing as a boy in many different roles in his father's Yiddish theater, Weisenfreund's Pavilion Theater, in the Maxwell Street area. He later joined the Yiddish theater in New York, then appeared on Broadway and later gained fame in Hollywood, winning an Academy Award for his role in the movie "The Life of Louis Pasteur."
85. Seymour Simon served four terms as a Chicago alderman from the Northwest Side and five years as president of the Cook County Board before being elected to the Illinois Appellate Court in 1974 and the Illinois Supreme Court in 1980. He developed a reputation for being independent from the entrenched Cook County Democratic machine.
86. Rabbi Menachem B. Sacks was one of the founders of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, an agency that assists and supports Orthodox day schools, and served as its executive director for many years.
87. Irving Cutler, Chicago's leading Jewish historian, is professor emeritus of geography at Chicago State University. He is a founder of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society and is well known for his book "The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb." He frequently gives boat and bus tours of Chicago and lectures on Chicago Jewish history.
88. Ira Bach was a prominent urban planner and architect who served through five Chicago mayoral administrations as the director of several planning and housing agencies.
89. Abner J. Mikva served as an Illinois state legislator for five terms, earning several "Best Legislator" awards, then was elected to the U.S. House. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He later served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton.
90. Shelley Berman, comedian and character actor, is a popular nightclub performer and the first comedian to appear at Carnegie Hall.
91. Rabbi Abraham Abramowitz was the spiritual leader of the Albany Park Hebrew Congregation for more than 30 years, from the 1930s to the 1960s. A Conservative movement and Zionist leader and effective fund-raiser for Israel, he was known as an eloquent orator who could fill all the seats of his 1,400-seat synagogue.
92. Rabbi Oscar Z. Fasman, long considered the elder statesman of Chicago's Orthodox community, retired less than two years ago, at the age of 90, from Congregation Yehuda Moshe in Lincolnwood. He held major positions with virtually every Orthodox organization in the city and was president of the Hebrew Theological College from 1946 to 1964.
93. Max Janowski was a noted composer of Jewish music and for many years the musical director at KAM Isaiah Israel. The original music he composed for the temple is now played all over the world.
94. Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, a product of the Maxwell Street neighborhood, was the first Jew to be elected to the Illinois Senate, where he became the Democratic leader, and also served as assistant state's attorney. He was a Superior Court judge and chief justice of the criminal courts and for many years served as the senior United States district judge.
95. Bertha Berkman succeeded Pearl Franklin as president of Hadassah and became a leader in the organization. She was also active in Zionist causes.
96. Bernard Epton, a Republican member of the state legislature from Hyde Park, made a strong but unsuccessful bid for mayor of Chicago against Harold Washington.
97. Rabbi Leonard Mishkin, a well-known scholar, served as educational director of Associated Talmud Torahs for more than 40 years, guiding the direction of Chicago's Orthodox day schools.
98. Rabbi Harold P. Smith held numerous leadership positions with virtually every Orthodox and Traditional organization in the city. A renowned scholar, he is the author of a number of Jewish textbooks.
99. Louise Dunn Yochim is a Jewish painter who is active in Jewish art circles and has written extensively about Jewish artists.
100. S.B. Komaiko was a prominent Yiddish author and an early Zionist. He wrote for a number of the dozens of Yiddish dailies, weeklies and literary journals that flourished in Chicago.
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