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As a whole, American Jews are probably more conflicted than Cohen about the community’s historic mob ties. When Cohen told his grandmother he was working on a book about Murder Inc., her response bespoke this communal schizophrenia. “A Jew should never be a gangster. It’s a shande,” she told him, using the Yiddish word for “a disgrace.” “But, if a Jew should be a gangster, let him be the best gangster!”

Pittsburgh PA
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We will never know how many of the gangsters were actually Jewish. A lot of the self-loathers changed their names. Some even had surgery to change their look to more Anglo.

Brown Deer WI
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Source: American Jewish Historical Society

There are few excuses for the behavior of Jewish gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman, Moe Dalitz — were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drug dealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. They were not nice men. During the rise of American Nazism in the 1930s and when Israel was being founded between 1945 and 1948, however, they proved staunch defenders of the Jewish people.

The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Like other newly arrived groups in American history, a few Jews who considered themselves blocked from respectable professions used crime as a means to "make good" economically. The market for vice flourished during Prohibition and Jews joined with others to exploit the artificial market created by the legal bans on alcohol, gambling, paid sex and narcotics.

Few of these men were religiously observant. They rarely attended services, although they did support congregations financially. They did not keep kosher or send their children to day schools. However, at crucial moments they protected other Jews, in America and around the world.

Jewish gangsters also helped establish Israel after the war. One famous example is a meeting between Bugsy Siegel and Reuven Dafne, a Haganah emissary, in 1945. Dafne was seeking funds and guns to help liberate Palestine from British rule. A mutual friend arranged for the two men to meet. "You mean to tell me Jews are fighting?" Siegel asked. "You mean fighting as in killing?" Dafne answered in the affirmative. Siegel replied, "I’m with you." For weeks, Dafne received suitcases filled with $5 and $10 bills -- $50,000 in all -- from Siegel.

Pittsburgh PA
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Another lovely conversation.

I must have missed something.....thank goodness for the block option

Rosemont IL
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Another lovely conversation.

Moncton Nothing
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Check out "A man of Honor" by Joseph Bonanno. Among other things, if you believe what this man says, and as you read you see there is no reason not to, it solves the JFK assassination mystery

Rosemont IL
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Well, I'm still gonna get the book. I always liked those old mob books and movies.

Pittsburgh PA
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Who's trying? You idiots are easy...

Pittsburgh PA
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Really? How so?

The Jews of the era jumped on the Italian bandwagon, NOT the reverse. Rothstein didn't wipe his ass without getting permission from Marinzano, Massaria and Joe Colissimo first, and Lansky and Seigel were more than will to play second fiddle to Marinzano and Massaria, it was Charlie Lucky (Luchiano) who played both ends against the center and took them both out Murder inc were in fact, as mush Irish as Jewish, and were nothing more than a hit squad for the NY families

Rosemont IL
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I am begining to think the Op is insecure, Maybe this is his way to feel like a man in life, or maybe he is jealous. Pitifull , to see an emasculated man try so hard....

Middletown NY
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TOPIC: Jews and organized crime
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