Did you know in China the following books are selling like hotcakes? The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish The Legend of Jewish Wealth Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives My favorite is the latter, because wouldn’t the Bible of how Jewish people live their lives be, you know, The Bible? I’m just saying.
This article in the Washington Post details the new Chinese fascination with all things Jewish. Apparently with capitalism and success comes a desire to figure how all those Jews got so darn rich. The best part of the article comes on the last page when they quote Zhou Guojian, deputy dean of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Not only does he think that ‘people in China may be so fascinated by Jews because they feel both cultures share a strong entrepreneurial spirit,’ but he goes on to say that he thinks Chinese people suffer from "Chinese restaurant syndrome…They are content with small-scale enterprises; they are happy just to make a living. But Jewish people want to be the best and make a huge company." Oh how I love it when people tell me what Jewish people are like. Jewish people are rich! Jewish people are smart! Jewish people control the media! The Post article talks a little about how bizarre the Jewish obsession is, and how often books about “Jewish success” are full of fabrications. Among other things, they claim that J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller were Jewish. They seem to be written mostly by hacks who know nothing or close to nothing about Judaism or financial planning. I can already see the response from the ADL about how insisting that Jews are all successful and rich is just a hop skip and a jump from accusing us of trying to take over the world and then shoving us in ovens. And let me say, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t like this stuff because it’s just awkward and silly feeling, but it doesn’t seem dangerous to me. But am I being naïve? And is anyone else a little nauseated by “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”? And ALSO, am I crazy or does it seem like the Chinese are doing pretty well figuring out how to “be the best and make a huge company” without the help of me and my silly old Talmud?
Tamar Fox has an MFA from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but she still doesn't like sweet tea. Born and raised in Chicago, she's also lived in Iowa City, Dublin, Oxford, and Jerusalem. When she's not rocking out at honky tonks she teaches text study, cooks elaborate meals, and volunteers for a hospice. When she grows up she wants to be a professional whiskey taster.