The Jewish people may not be afraid of controversy at times, but they aren’t afraid of making a hard decision either. With a history of being persecuted as a people, it is understandable why proactive thinking is one of the trademarks of Jewish leaders. What these 5 famous leaders have accomplished, however, is sometimes controversial, sometimes hated, but has very much changed the world.
1. Sergey Brin
When you think of the internet, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Thanks to the work of Sergey Brin, many people think about Google. Born in Russia and with a grandmother who was Jewish, he suspended his studies at Stanford to start Google in a rented garage. Believing that knowledge is always good, the way people around the world are able to access the information they need has been transformed partly because of Brin, making him equally influential in many of today’s societies.
2. Benjamin Netanyahu
Serving his second term as Prime Minister, Netanyahu was actually the first leader of Israel that was born after it became a nation. Some look at his efforts in the West Bank to ease suffering and freezing settlement construction as good things, yet there is also the recent “war” with Hamas where Israel has been accused of bombing safe zones that were filled with children. Like him or hate him, he’s undoubtedly the most influential Jewish leader in the world right now.
3. Alan Greenspan
Greenspan’s views of economics and finances have always been well respected, causing him to be in Chairman of the Federal Reserve for nearly 20 years. He was greatly concerned about the major investments that were occurring in the internet bubble age and warned people that stock prices would rapidly decline at some point. He was right. The bubble burst in 2000 and tech stocks took nearly 24 months to begin recovering from it.
4. Ben Bernanke
As the man behind the reported financial philosophies that prevented the United States from entering into a second Great Depression, Bernanke was named as a Time person of the year as the chairman of the US Federal Reserve. What Bernanke proves is that sometimes business decisions take courage to make if you believe it is the right decision, even if that choice has never been made before. His mentor is also a prominent Jewish leader, Stanley Fischer.
5. Baruch Spinoza
This 17th century Jewish leader helped to establish that rationalism and logic could help bring people towards enlightenment. Spinoza wasn’t much of a philosopher. He was a lens grinder for telescopic lenses and most of his writings were actually published after his death. Yet his work in Ethics became one of the most influential pieces of literature during his era. He was unorthodox for his approach, questioned the Talmud, and eventually found himself expelled from the Jewish community.