Arts & Culture

Yes, Jews Are Good At Making Money

There is no doubt that there is a major connection between Jews and money. Even as Jews seek to sweep it under the carpet, it is still the largest elephant in the room, especially in these bad economic times. Here … Read More

By / October 13, 2008

There is no doubt that there is a major connection between Jews and money. Even as Jews seek to sweep it under the carpet, it is still the largest elephant in the room, especially in these bad economic times. Here is an example of this. I contacted a famous young Jewish entrepreneur and asked him to endorse Jewish Wisdom for Business Success. The publisher sent him an advance copy of the book. He looked at it and then said he didn’t like the notion written in the book that Jews are associated with making money. Then he stopped replying to my email. After much persistence on my part, his assistant sent me a message saying he did not have time to read the book and therefore would not endorse it. Now, whether this particular person likes the notion or not, the notion is out there. From my research talking to people across America, Jews are associated with money in everybody’s mind. And it is not a bad thing. The bad thing is if we allow others to believe that the reason why Jews are good at making money is because they cheat, or because there is some other conspiracy that Jews all share in. The Israeli Daily Newspaper the Maariv, in an extensive article about Jewish Wisdom for Business Success and the anti-Semitic association between Jews and money, claimed that the book could not have come out at a worse time. I respectfully and passionately disagree. This is the most important time for this book to come out. At a time when the disgusting anti-Semites are coming out and trying to take charge of the conversation about Jews and money, and as these vile creatures are spreading their hatred and idiotic conspiracy theories all over the internet it is about time that we Jews take charge of the conversation. This is exactly what my book intends to do. Yes it is a fact that Jews are disproportionally successful in business. We Jews only make up 0.2 percent of the world population (yes less than half of one percent) but we make up more than ten percent of the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the world. Also forty six percent of Jews in the United States make over 100k a year while only fifteen percent of the rest of the population make that amount. These are facts not stereotypes. So why are Jews disproportionately successful? Why are so many of them making more money when compared to the general population? This is a legitimate question and it deserves our attention. Just because the vile anti-Semites use these facts for their own nefarious means does not mean that we should avoid or try and ignore them. If we do they will certainly remind us of them and not in a way we enjoy. Some have tried to answer this question by saying the Jewish success has to do with the fact that in Europe they were forced to only be involved in finance. But if this was the case then why are thirty percent of Noble Prize winners in the sciences Jewish? Some say it has to do with genetics. But I don’t buy that type of racist ideology either. The real reason for Jewish success in all areas (not just finance) in my opinion has to do with the Torah. There are wisdom teachings found in the Torah that Jews have imbibed for thousands of years. These wisdom teachings feed directly into successful practices not just in finance, but in the sciences as well as in many other fields. Now some Jews may not know that there outlook comes from the religion of Judaism. However, I have found that Jews who have never even opened a Jewish book still believe in intrinsically Jewish ideas that stem from the Torah. After probing, often they heard these ideas from a Jewish grandmother they were close with or from a great uncle. But in the end they can almost always be traced back to Jewish ideas that come from the Torah. The beauty of this theory is that these ideas that feed into successful practices do not have to remain exclusively with the Jews. If we are magnanimous we can share them with others. This is what Sam Jaffe and I have done with our book Jewish Wisdom for Business Success. Now, by reading the book, anyone—even anti-Semites—can learn the secret of Jewish success. Jewish Wisdom for the difficult economic times: In the Torah we find Abraham negotiating with G-d. Here is an idea that can help you in the current financial times. Like Abraham don’t always just negotiate over the bottom line. Sometimes other things might be more important and you will win through them. For example keeping your current job may be more important than seeking a raise. If you hear that your company is going to cut jobs you may even suggest to your boss that you will be willing to take less money in order to keep your job in these troubled economic times. In all negotiations in these troubled times where capital is scarce look beyond the dollar signs and try and negotiate on other things (the terms and conditions) that are also very important to you. (Learn how to negotiate in Chapter 5 of the book).

Rabbi Levi Brackman, co-author of Jewish Wisdom for Business Success, is guest-blogging on Jewcy with fellow co-author Sam Jaffe. He’ll be here all week. Stay tuned.