This book focuses on the lives and accomplishments of twenty Jews who left a crucial imprint upon Judaism as we know it today. The author, Rabbi Morris B. Margolies, believes that most readers are bewildered when a page of history is saturated with a wide array of names, events, and places, but when attention is directed at one central figure whose career reflected the zeitgeist of his time and also affected the course of subsequent Jewish history, the reader is more likely to be drawn into the drama that unfolds with each "Jew of his century." Twenty/Twenty: Jewish Visionaries through Two Thousand Years is an examination of the past two millennia of Jewish history through the lives and careers of twenty people who reflected the currents of Jewish experience in the century during which their work was accomplished. The author writes, "No understanding of Jews or Judaism is possible without a basic familiarity with the history of the Jews. Ignorance of this subject is profound among the Jews of America. It is my contention that if this situation persists into the next century, the American Jewish community is likely to disappear as a significant factor in Jewish survival."
Morris B. Margolies is Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Shalom Congregation of Kansas City, Missouri, and a former professor of Jewish history at the University of Kansas. He was ordained by Yeshiva University, has a master's degree from the University of Chicago, and also holds a doctorate in Jewish History from Columbia University.