Jewish gangsters are a nearly forgotten breed.
I mean, heck, I had to read this book to even find out that they were a thing.
Everyone knows about the Italian mob. The Irish mob, the English gangsters, and the politicians are well known to us.
There are the drug cartels too. And you have probably even heard of the Russian mob.
But most enterprising Jews are a breed of such men like this, not frequently known to step over moral lines in a violent way.
The idea that they could be things like any of the rest of us requires a change in perspective.
The Jewish gangster has been forgotten because no one wants to remember him, because my grandmother won’t talk about him, because he is something to be ashamed of. Well, to me, remembering Jewish gangsters is a good way to deal with being born after 1945, with being someone who has always had the Holocaust at his back, the distant tom-tom: six million, six million, six million. The gangsters, with their own wisecracking machine-gun beat, push that other noise clear from my head. And they drowned out other things, too, like the stereotype that fits the entire Jewish community into the middle class, comfortable easy-chair Jews with nothing but morality for dessert. Where I grew up, it was understood: Even the most reckless Jew winds up in medical school. Well, the gangsters helped me clear this trap, showing me that since the worst is possible, so is everything else. If a Jew can die in the electric chair, anything can happen.
-Rich Cohen, Tough Jews