Jews And Booze By Marni Davis

1734 Words7 Pages
When Prohibition became law in 1920, many Jews became bootleggers. Mob bosses such as Arnold Rothstein and Meyer Lansky operated in New York; Abner “Longy” Zwillman and Waxey Gordon worked in New Jersey; The Purple Gang was mainly based in Detroit. These mobsters and others made headlines more often than did Jewish federal Prohibition agents like Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith (Davis). Jewish gangsters found that the most money at the time could be found in the illegal alcohol business and so for varied personal reasons they joined in. Some became gangsters for the wealth, others for power, and some because it was simply what they enjoyed. But what all of them seemingly shared a passion for was caring for their families (Rockaway). In…show more content…
Incorporated into this review are studies of the real life activity of these gangsters through information that Rockaway was able to recover. According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein ranked as one of the highest mob bosses the person during Prohibition. The restriction of alcohol had created a tremendous business opportunity. Rothstein "understood the truths of early 20th century capitalism - hypocrisy, exclusion, greed - and came to dominate them". Lucky Luciano, the boss of the Italian-American Mafia once said that Rothstein "taught me how to dress" (Rockaway). The stereotypical attire of the American mobster portrayed in movies can trace its roots directly to Rothstein. He was a man who although he was brought up in a wealthy home, loved the life of a gangster and delved into it. Rothstein’s life of crime for which he never spent a day in jail ended when he was shot to death over a gambling debt in New York’s Park Central Hotel in 1928. Although he may have been the largest crime boss of the time he still did all in his power to protect his family from having anything to do with illegal activities. Meyer Lanksy started working on the corrupt side of business at age 19 with Bugsy Siegel. Their first criminal enterprises involved a
Open Document