Chelsea owner and domestic goddess head Jewish list

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The Independent Online

The list of the top 20 most influential and interesting Jewish people, which is published today, is liable to astonish readers with the magnitude of some of its omissions.

Compiled by the Jewish Chronicle, it includes Roman Abramovich who has recently bought Chelsea Football Club, Nigella Lawsonn, the original domestic goddess and the country's best-connected lifestyle guru, Carole Caplin.

But it cannot find room for such luminaries as Philip Roth, Henry Kissinger, Steven Spielberg and Eli Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Ned Temko, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said: "It's a totally subjective attempt to get the most varied, interesting mix of Jewish voices around a single Jewish dinner table."

The laughs around the notional dinner table would be provided by Mel Brooks "the funniest man on the planet" while fashion and lifestyle tips would be handed out by Ms Caplin who also raises funds for two Jewish charities.

But Ms Lawson would be barred from cooking as she once said that slow-cooking a shoulder of pork "brings out the Jewish mother in me".

The world of acting is represented by Maureen Lipman, Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and Sir Anthony Sher who is described as a "consummate literary and theatrical renaissance man".

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is included as the only religious leader. The judges said he deserved his place because of his talent for "relating Judaism and its teachings to broader Western intellectual, social and political thought."

At the table also are Jonathan Friedland of The Guardian and Melanie Phillips - "the thinking person's voice of conservatism". Tom Friedman, the American foreign affairs writer and David Grossman, the writer, are also included.

Brad Gilbert, the tennis player, makes up the sporting contingent - "never classically stylish, but with on court brains" - and Daniel Libeskind is there as "arguably the world's most famous architect" since winning the commission to design the centrepiece for Ground Zero.

Mr Temko said: "The idea was to find not just the usual suspects but a mix of intelligence, influence and the unexpected. I expect there will be a lot of complaints about our choices. We have a big letters page."


* Mel Brooks, 77, producer, actor, writer, director

* Sarah Jessica Parker, 38, actress and screen actor

* Roman Abramovich, 36, Russian owner of Chelsea Football Club

* Nigella Lawson, below, celebrity cook

* Lord Winston, 63, Professor of Fertility Studies, Imperial College; head of research, Hammersmith Hospital

* Rachel de Thame, 41, TV gardener and former model

* Daniel Barenboim, 60, pianist and conductor

* Stephen Marks, 56, fashion designer and head of French Connection

* Brad Gilbert, 42, tennis coach and player

* Lord Woolf, 70, Lord Chief Justice

* Sir Anthony Sher, 54, actor, theatre director

* Tom Friedman, 53, foreign affairs writer

* Lord Levy, 59, personal envoy to the Prime Minister and Middle East adviser

* Maureen Lipman, 57, actress and writer

* Jonathan Freedland, 36, journalist

* Jonathan Sacks, 55, Chief Rabbi, United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth of Nations

* Carole Caplin, 41, fashion and lifestyle guru to Cherie Blair

* Melanie Phillips, 52, journalist and newspaper columnist

* David Grossman, 49, journalist and novelist

* Daniel Libeskind, 57, architect