Jack Antonoff, Scarlett Johansson and Yoshua Bengio

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.


On April 17, Time magazine released its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”. On April 25, Time hosted its annual Gala to celebrate the List and, on Sunday, May 12, at 10PM, ABC will broadcast a one-hour special entitled “Inside the Gala: Time 100.” 

In an hour, ABC really can’t say that much about all the honorees at the Gala. Still, it will be interesting to get at least a quick look at most of these talented and varied people.

I “missed” the “2024 list” when it first appeared. But I caught a reference to the Gala broadcast, and I immediately thought about writing about the 2024 Jewish honorees. I made up my list and then I discovered an April 18 JTA article that provided an "okay" list of the Jewish honorees.

I decided to go ahead with “my list” because I suspect most of you missed the JTA article-- and the JTA list left off three “quite Jewish” honorees and it included a person I wouldn’t call Jewish. (* means not on JTA list).

Here’s my list. Do check on-line sources for much more info.

(1) JACK ANTONOFF, 40, a top music producer (Taylor Swift is now his biggest client) and a popular rock musician. He’s won a slew of Grammys, went to a Hebrew day school, and went to his high school prom with SCARLETT JOHANSSON.

(2) YOSHUA BENGIO, 60, a Canadian computer scientist who is at the absolute top of  his field---that being artificial intelligence. He’s very concerned about the ethical use of “AI”. His brother, SAMY BENGIO, is head of AI for Apple. Their parents were Moroccan Sephardi Jews who settled in France and the brothers were born in France. The teenage Bengio brothers, and their “artsy/hippie” parents, moved to Canada in 1978.

(3) TORY BURCH, 57, Burch is a very successful fashion designer. Her mother is Jewish. 

(4) MARK CUBAN, 65,* has made fortunes in internet related services, and, later, in sports businesses. Most know him as an investor in start-ups on the “Shark Tank” TV program.

(5) DAN DRUCKER, 67,* a Canadian medical professor best known for his research into intestinal hormones and their use in the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. In 2023, he won the (Israeli) Wolf Prize in Medicine. His parents were Holocaust survivors who met in Israel. They moved to Canada in 1953.

(6) ALEX EDELMAN, 35, as noted recently in this column, is a stand-up comedian whose one-man, anti-Nazi  play, “Just for Us”, is now streaming on HBO.

(7) LARRY ELLISON, 70, a multi-billionaire and the co-founder of the Oracle software company. He’s not religious at all, but has heavily invested in Israel high-tech.

(8) YNON KREIZ, 56, a businessman who was born and raised in Israel. He became the CEO of the Mattel Company in 2018 and profits have substantially grown.

(9) RACHEL GOLDBERG-POLIN, 54. Her son, HERSH, was kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip during the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023. She quit her job to focus full-time on working towards freeing the hostages.

(10) MAYA RUDOLPH, 51, is best known as an “SNL” comedic star. Her mother, African-American singer Minnie Riperton, died when she was 7. Rudolph’s Jewish father didn’t talk about religion or his family roots. Maya learned all about her Jewish and black ancestors when she guested on “Finding Your Roots”.

(11) STUART ORKIN* is a Harvard medical doctor and a stem cell biologist in pediatric hematology-oncology. His work has focused on the genetic basis of blood disorders. Orkin has led many research breakthroughs and some treatments. I found a 1970 Boston Jewish paper article about his Jewish wedding to his “only” and “present” Jewish wife.

(12) NORAH WEINSTEIN, 50ish, is the co-president of Baby2Baby, a large non-profit that provides low-income families with diapers, clothes, cribs, and other essential items. 


James McBride, a best-selling writer, is on the JTA list. His mother was born Jewish, but converted to Christianity, and his father was a black pastor. McBride is a great friend of the Jewish people, but he identifies as a Christian.

“Dark Matters” is an Apple+ sci-fi series that premieres on May 8. Here’s the “official” premise: A physicist in Chicago is warped into an alternate version of his life, leaving him to fight to return to his life to prevent the alternate version of himself from harming his family.

Australian actor Joel Edgerton stars as Jason Dessen, the physicist. His wife, Daniela Dessen, is played by JENNIFER CONNELLY, 53. The actress is the secular daughter of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father.


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