First Shabbat Symposium focuses on the dark side of Jewish History


B’nai Emunah held its first Shabbat Symposium this past Saturday, November 29 at 1:00 pm after Shabbat services. Our conversation looked at Jewish crime in Eastern Europe beginning in the mid-1800s and how it developed following the repressive Russian May Laws of the 1880s. From there we examined the Jewish role in international prostitution and human trafficking (frequently targeting Jewish women) throughout Europe and South America. We culminated with a discussion of the major Jewish gangs and gangsters in the United States during the 20th century, including the Purple Gang, Murder Incorporated, and Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Seigel. We also discussed the response of “respectable” Jewish community leaders and organizations to Jewish criminality in their midst. This class was led by Andrew Nusbaum. A list of sources and recommendations for further reading can be found here: Gangster Sources.

Many thanks to all those who stayed after services for our conversation. We hope you found it interesting!

Shabbat Symposium is an adult education offering that will be occurring after morning services on the last Saturday of each month. Topics and teachers will rotate and no prior knowledge is required. Join us for engaged learning and enthusiastic discussion!

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