Kelsey Media

Are Jews disproportionately good at business?

18 comments

Rabbi Levi Brack man seems to think so and he even wrote a book about it. Luckily for him, I went to his house in Evergreen Colorado last year for the second days of Pesach and since the food was mad good I agreed to write a post about his new book- I have skimmed it- so I cannot write a thorough review- but its interesting and not dry like some other Jewish books. Buy the book here!

  • http://crawlingaxe.blogspot.com AF

    How many Jewish business people actually use “rules from Torah” when going about their business?

    Why are Jews good at science? Also from using “rules from Torah”?

    Isn’t it safer to assume that Jews got “momentum” for any intellectual endeavor from studying Talmud for centuries? For most intellectual activities, the “momentum” runs out 3–5 generations after the family fries out (after that point, there is no longer an advantage over the goyim) — I wonder whether it’s true regarding business…

    • http://onlycredentialsaremywords Jeremy Sharps

      Of course, I use the “rules from the torah” for business success. Check out the video at 2:16. Really listen to what the woman says. Following the torah is equivalent to following the morals in which we were raised upon. Any moral human will be successful in business if they are also good at math. Just think about the things you don’t like about certain businesses… go into a retail store and compare it to others. Pretty much anything not following morals is typically the things we don’t like. One important part of torah reading instructs us to do on to others as we would want others to do on to us. Treat others how you want to be treated. We just think more into these concepts than others and that makes us successful at business. Success comes from not being stingy or rude for example. Open up, drop the professional act and put professionalism and personality together you’ll make something great.

  • can’t stereotype me

    Hashem blesses the Jewish people and that’s what makes them so successful at everything. In particular when a frum Jew is successful in the secular world, such as business, as well as lives a Torah life, it makes a Kiddush Hashem in the world. So it actually increases the awareness of Hashem’s Presence in the world when Jews are successful. Hence, Hashem makes Jews successful.

  • http://infiniterandominity.blogspot.com shua

    ok, that video was embarrasing. i couldn’t get past the first 4 interviews.

  • utubefan

    AF, “fries out” is a disrespectful term and so is your supposition. Did you know that Jews were not permitted to have trades in Europe and therefore were forced into the money lending and related jobs for which they have been maligned?
    If there is more success–which surely isn’t as universal as many non-Jews think–it is most probably due to the work ethic and community support that Jews have. Personally, I have met many a Jew who does not have a “head for business.” It’s something you either have or haven’t. I also believe in Mazal and I believe that too is something you have or haven’t got in life.

  • http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ Batya

    Maybe in theory, but here in the holyland, things are rather muddled.

  • A23

    This guy is exploiting an age-old anti-Semitic stereotype in order to make money from book sales.

  • http://crawlingaxe.blogspot.com AF

    >AF, “fries out” is a disrespectful term and so is your supposition.

    Why? “Fry” is Yiddish for “free”. When somebody talks about how her grandmother was a feminist — or, at least, not a traditional housewife, — he says that she was “liberated”. If somebody considers himself “free of Torah”, he is “fried out”. (Or is it “fryed out”?) Also, I don’t have any “supposition” — I am just stating the statistical fact. All the “great” Jews who achieved a lot in the secular world are no more than 3–5 generations away from frum ancestors. After that, they assimilate amongst goyim and don’t have any advantage, in business or science.

    >Personally, I have met many a Jew who does not have a “head for business.”

    But he probably has a “head” for something else intellectual — which is exactly what I said.

    >If there is more success–which surely isn’t as universal as many non-Jews think–it is most probably due to the work ethic and community support that Jews have.

    Jewish bankers of the turn of 19th–20th centuries had no more work ethics than the goyishe ones.

    >I also believe in Mazal

    So do I. Mazal by definition is something that is non-detectable through physical means, due to the effect of the sphera of Malchus. If you look for the “mazal telling a leaf of grass to grow” (a quote from Talmud, where the term “mazal” comes from), you will find only laws of biology — not to say that’s all there is, chv”sh, but that’s all that is observable from the World of Asiyah.

    So, if you want the real reason for the success of the Jews, yes, it’s that we are favored by Eibeshter — and when we “fry out”, we are running on the momentum of our ancestors’ favor. But we were talking from this world’s point of view, not the upper ones’.

  • http://crawlingaxe.blogspot.com AF

    By the way, a “stereotype” is turning statistics into a law.

    Saying that all Jews are good in business is a stereotype. Saying that Jews are over-represented in business in comparison to goyim (there are more Jews in business than there should be, based on their proportional numbers in the society) is statistics. Likewise, saying that there is more crime among Blacks than among other minorities is statistics. Saying that every Black person is a criminal is a stupid stereotype.

    Statistical trends usually reveal some forces at work. We can ask, why are many Jews good in business/science? Stereotypes, on the other hand, are stupid and a sign of intellectual laziness and immaturity — they need to be rid of.

  • utubefan

    AF, I tend to agree with you on your last point, but when you say “If somebody considers himself “free of Torah”, he is “fried out” then you are making a leap to judgment like so many other misguided frum people. Jews who are not Orthodox whether affiliated with other denominations or completely unaffiliated do not consciously “consider themselves free of Torah.” That isn’t what the dynamic is. To assume that about them is to be totally disconnected from their reality. Either they are connected to Torah in their own way, or they question Torah, but wish to practice it in their own way, or are not even thinking about Torah at all and ignorant of much of what Torah has to offer them (and by ignorant, I mean by way of a complete lack of education and oral family tradition). The last and smallest group is making a conscious choice to be, as you say, “free” from Torah. That, my friend, is a small group of Jews indeed and by using your choice of terms to describe the majority of Jews out there you are not only devaluing them as Jews but you are also woefully incorrect.

  • http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ Batya

    Just wondering…
    How’d that guy find someone named John Birch?
    I guess you guys don’t get it.

  • http://www.levibrackman.com Levi Brackman

    Hey Hesh, Thanks for this post it is greatly appreciated. There is no doubt that many Jewish people who don’t actively learn Torah are very much influenced by its teachings. This is because many of the stories, sayings and nuggets of wisdom they would have heard from their parents and grandparents can be traced back to an idea or story from the Torah. The Torah is the source of all wisdom and truth and it is therefore not surprising that a people who have spent three thousand years studying it know a thing or two about how to be successful in any arena. Shana Tova UmTukah.

    Levi Brackman

  • http://www.levibrackman.com Levi Brackman

    Great question. It was his real name–ironic I know!

  • http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ Batya
  • Daniel

    NO FREAKING WAY! Seriously, there is a huge hole in the logic that is used in his argument. Answer this question. How many highly successful Jews that are in some kind of business are religious? Ok, now how about this question. How many successful Jews know or even care about anything that has to do with Torah?

    Hey, here is another excellent question. How many poor and destitute Jews have there been throughout history? I am sure it is heavily weighted to the poorer than the richer.

    Ok, so Torah does indeed have much to teach about business and how to live for success in such endeavors; however, citing the example of non-practicing non-religious Jews is just bad logic and bad business.

    OH, who cares what stereotypes goyim have of us. Often they aren’t out of appreciation, but right out of a justification for underlying antisemitism.

  • AF

    >NO FREAKING WAY! Seriously, there is a huge hole in the logic that is used in his argument. Answer this question. How many highly successful Jews that are in some kind of business are religious? Ok, now how about this question. How many successful Jews know or even care about anything that has to do with Torah?

    Exactly. I agree with this point. Not with the next one, though:

    >Hey, here is another excellent question. How many poor and destitute Jews have there been throughout history? I am sure it is heavily weighted to the poorer than the richer.

    What is “heavily weighed” mean in here? The question is: are there more businessmen amongst Jews than amongst other nations, and are there more Jews amongst businessmen than would be predicted by their proportion in the society? If yes, then there is some active force pushing Jews towards (successful) business.

    >Ok, so Torah does indeed have much to teach about business

    Torah doesn’t teach about business at all. Torah is not in the business of teaching about business, it’s in the business of giving laws of how G-d thinks you should conduct business. Torah teaches about business ethics and laws — related to Jews (in other words, not just pure ethics… also, not selling pork to other Jews).

    Sure, following business ethics is necessary for good business, but it’s not the only thing. You need to eat healthy to do bodybuilding (if you eat crap, you won’t be much of a bodybuilder), but you need also some specific things (e.g., protein-heavy diet) beyond pure health.

    Bottom line: rabbis (especially Lubavitchers — whose role is to spread the pnimiyus of Torah) need to concern themselves with infusing gashmius with ruchnius (and enhancing ruchnius in general) — not justifying ruchnius with gashmius. All these “proofs of Torah from quantum mechanics” and “Jews are successful in business because they brush their teeth” are sickening. Enough with the b.s.

  • http://crawlingaxe.blogspot.com AF

    Oh, and another thing:

    Ksiva vachasima toivah, y’all!

  • Celery

    It is simply because they stick together and support eachother!!!

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