Why is everything Jewish?

  • Thread starter khemix
  • Start date
120
1
I refer of course to the ethnic Jews, ie. descendents of Israel. Just about every science book I own is either written by someone Jewish or is owned by a Jewish publisher. Everything from the New Math Library, to the Gelfand outreach programs, the yellow Springer math series, faviorates like Spivak, Rudin, Levine, Strauss, all the 'bergs' etc. I don't think I need to include their success in the financial, media, and political centers.

What is the most surprising is that they are a tiny portion of the American population (~2%). So my question is, how is it that a small group of people is capable of such success?
 
1,120
7
Perhaps they worked their butts off, knuckled under and did the work.
 
458
1
Because Northern European Jewish culture came by various factors to value highly being studious, there are many, many studies on this have a look around the web, partciular you want to look into Ashkenazi Jewish cultural heritage.
 

alxm

Science Advisor
1,841
7
I refer of course to the ethnic Jews, ie. descendents of Israel. Just about every science book I own is either written by someone Jewish or is owned by a Jewish publisher. Everything from the New Math Library, to the Gelfand outreach programs, the yellow Springer math series, faviorates like Spivak, Rudin, Levine, Strauss, all the 'bergs' etc. I don't think I need to include their success in the financial, media, and political centers.
Well, first get things straight: Not everything is Jewish or Jewish-owned, including some of your examples. Springer is a German publishing group owned by media conglomerate Bertelsmann. 'Strauss' is not a Jewish name - Nazi composer Richard Strauss would probably agree. And 'berg' is common in all Germanic names and should not be assumed to be Jewish (E.g. 'Blomberg' is a common Swedish name. 'Blumberg', OTOH, is often Jewish) I think you may have some selection bias going on here as well.

Nevertheless, the Jewish people have done well for themselves, not least in Science. And plenty of people have speculated on the reasons for it. I don't see it as having anything to do with Judaism in itself or the ethnicity, because you don't see quite the same success rate from non-European (e.g. Mizrahi) Jews.

Really I think it's a quite simple matter of social legacy. For most of the last thousand years, in most European countries, Jews were not allowed to own land or be farmers. They were often not allowed to be craftsmen, since they would not be admitted into guilds. They were encouraged, however, to become financiers, since Christians were not permitted to lend money against interest. In many cases, up until the mid 19th century, a European Jew simply couldn't get a job in the Christian community unless he was either a financier, or well-educated enough to get a job that was important enough to overlook prejudice.

Is it a surprise then, that well-educated people encourage their children to become well-educated? Or that once the laws were liberalized, that the educated, urban, Jewish population didn't rush out into the countryside to become farmers?
 
854
16
It's because you're in love khemix.

Steve McQueen is Jewish would you believe it?
He's just like you and I, couldn't you almost die?
And Cary Grant is Jewish could you conceive it?
Such a living doll in a prayer shawl
Marlon Brando's Jewish, Pat O'Brien and Richard Conte
Not to mention that lovely couple, Harry and Belafonte

Frank Sinatra's Jewish would you believe it?
Sean Connery and Lyndon Johnson too
As a matter of fact the whole world is Jewish
Since I fell in love with you
(Rosie McGonegal!)
Since I fell in love with you.

Would You Believe It? from the album "When you're in love the whole world is Jewish" by Bob Booker.
 
1,120
7
Thats great Jimmy, I love it!
 

alxm

Science Advisor
1,841
7
Another thing that occurred to me, on the subject of social legacies.. I happen to be from one of those families who hasn't done an honest day's work in most of the last 1000 years because my great^20-grandfather was a buddy of the Holy Roman Emperor.

People with my brand of surname are still disproportionately represented when it comes to wealth, influence, and membership in European conservative parties. If you notice them. Which I tend to.

John von Neumann happened to be both Jewish and nobility, unusually enough. Come to think of it, I think almost all Hungarian Nobel laureates are either Jewish or nobles.
 
120
1
Really I think it's a quite simple matter of social legacy. For most of the last thousand years, in most European countries, Jews were not allowed to own land or be farmers. They were often not allowed to be craftsmen, since they would not be admitted into guilds. They were encouraged, however, to become financiers, since Christians were not permitted to lend money against interest. In many cases, up until the mid 19th century, a European Jew simply couldn't get a job in the Christian community unless he was either a financier, or well-educated enough to get a job that was important enough to overlook prejudice.

Is it a surprise then, that well-educated people encourage their children to become well-educated? Or that once the laws were liberalized, that the educated, urban, Jewish population didn't rush out into the countryside to become farmers?
Not being able to own land does not mean you cannot farm it. I don't think they were encouraged to be financiers as much as they took advantage of an opportunity; but this is just speculation. Also what of other non-European groups that were living in Europe who were discrimiated against in equal proprortions (ie. Gpsies, Samaritans). They faced similar restrictions and have not really risen much in terms of status.

Regardless, in the modern age they are not the only degree holders in America. Their numbers are simply too small for them to hold such a strong footing in many industries. Unless you make the claim that virtually every one of them is more qualified than their non-Jewish competitors.

Would You Believe It? from the album "When you're in love the whole world is Jewish" by Bob Booker.
I don't love or hate Jewish people. Actually, I'd be interested in taking notes on their stragedy to success.
 
Last edited:

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
It's not just ethnic Jews from Europe that are very successful in their fields - many immigrant populations have high rates of success. In one (quite large) construction company that I worked for, the CFO was a Dutch Jew who made it to the US during the rise of the Nazis. After paying for passage, he got here with little or nothing and started from the bottom. He was a very shrewd manager and he despised waste. The most senior project superintendent for the company came his with his mother and aunt as refugees from Latvia. When the Russians came through Latvia and stripped their farm of all food and livestock and killed all the men, they fled and spent more than a year walking across Europe. These people have grit and determination - both very important to success.
 
854
16
Don't forget to mention basketball too. Here's the lineup of the 1946 Knicks:
Ossie Schectman, Sonny Hertzberg, Stan Stutz, Hank Rosenstein, Ralph Kaplowitz, Jake Weber, and Leo "Ace" Gottlieb.
http://www.thefirstbasket.com/Story.htm" [Broken]
There's no real accounting for this stuff.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
351
2

alxm

Science Advisor
1,841
7
Not being able to own land does not mean you cannot farm it.
But that would require either a European peasant willing to hire a Jew as a farm-hand; possible, but not likely. Or a land-owning noble who was willing to lease land to a Jew (probably risking a village riot). And the aforementioned factor that the Jewish population tended to be urban, if for no other reason than having been forced into ghettos.

I don't think they were encouraged to be financiers as much as they took advantage of an opportunity; but this is just speculation.
Actually there are plenty of specific examples where Jews were invited to settle in cities, with the express intent of taking advantage of their financial services.

Also what of other non-European groups that were living in Europe who were discrimiated against in equal proprortions (ie. Gpsies, Samaritans). They faced similar restrictions and have not really risen much in terms of status.
Samaritans still exist? Only 712 according to Wikipedia. But anyhow. The situation for gypsies is different. They were never forced into ghettos, were largely rural and transient. I'd say the transient nature of their traditional lifestyle is what's largely kept them from integrating.

Regardless, in the modern age they are not the only degree holders in America. Their numbers are simply too small for them to hold such a strong footing in many industries. Unless you make the claim that virtually every one of them is more qualified than their non-Jewish competitors.
Well I haven't and wouldn't make that claim either. All I said was that it's true that Jews are over-represented in Science and some other professions, and that I think this is due to the fact that forces of prejudice lead to a situation where they were strongly encouraged to educate themselves, and that this in combination with social legacy (which tends to be stronger in any minority group, due to their more close-knit nature) is enough to explain this over-representation.

And I do believe, that if you go back 100 or 200 years and pick out a significant number of top people in Science and Medicine and such, that come from the majority population and see where their descendants are now, that that group will probably still be over-represented as well. The main difference to the Jewish situation would just be that their names and successes would not be identified with any specific group. (Except in the case of nobility, who do have identifiable names. But I already spoke of that)
 
120
1
Well I haven't and wouldn't make that claim either. All I said was that it's true that Jews are over-represented in Science and some other professions, and that I think this is due to the fact that forces of prejudice lead to a situation where they were strongly encouraged to educate themselves, and that this in combination with social legacy (which tends to be stronger in any minority group, due to their more close-knit nature) is enough to explain this over-representation.
If prejudice leads to education, and social legacy prompts people to take up skills, why are black Americans (who experienced plenty of both) not running the country?

Your claim about people unwilling to hire farmers is also questionable. People will always open the doors to groups they deem unworthy, as it affords them exploitation. Or are you not familiar with the concept of slavery?
 

alxm

Science Advisor
1,841
7
If prejudice leads to education, and social legacy prompts people to take up skills, why are black Americans (who experienced plenty of both) not running the country?
I didn't say that prejudice leads to education in general. I said it did so in the Jewish case. In the same post I also addressed the Gypsy situation, where it quite clearly hasn't. Black Americans were in a situation, post-slavery, in particular in the South, where they were quite strongly discouraged from getting any form of education or career as a professional.

The fact that blacks in America remain under-represented is another example of that power of social legacy.

Your claim about people unwilling to hire farmers is also questionable. People will always open the doors to groups they deem unworthy, as it affords them exploitation. Or are you not familiar with the concept of slavery?
Hiring a farm hand is rather different than forced exploitation through slavery. You couldn't beat up your farm hand, even if he was Jewish. The issue here is that there were plenty of non-Jewish people to hire. The idea that it's exploitative is also wrong. Until the 1800s, the majority of Europeans were farmers. They were the middle class back there and then.

Anyway, if you don't like the reasons I stated, you best find other ones rather than argue against it, because it's just a fact that relatively few Jews in Europe were historically employed in agriculture. Including, in Eastern Europe, the most exploitative form of labor that existed there - serfdom. There were relatively few Jewish serfs.
 

G01

Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,649
16
If prejudice leads to education, and social legacy prompts people to take up skills, why are black Americans (who experienced plenty of both) not running the country?

Uhhhh. Anyone else notice a problem with this statement? :rolleyes:
 
120
1
I didn't say that prejudice leads to education in general. I said it did so in the Jewish case. In the same post I also addressed the Gypsy situation, where it quite clearly hasn't. Black Americans were in a situation, post-slavery, in particular in the South, where they were quite strongly discouraged from getting any form of education or career as a professional.

The fact that blacks in America remain under-represented is another example of that power of social legacy. .
If prejudice doesn't account for success of some groups, then prejudice cannot be the reason Jewish people are successful. There must be something the Jewish people are doing that, according to you, lets them thrive in enviornments other groups did not.


Anyway, if you don't like the reasons I stated, you best find other ones rather than argue against it, because it's just a fact that relatively few Jews in Europe were historically employed in agriculture. Including, in Eastern Europe, the most exploitative form of labor that existed there - serfdom. There were relatively few Jewish serfs.
This has nothing to do with liking or disliking reasons, I do not find yours that convincing. Jewish people excel in science and industry because their ancestors were encouraged to take up trades, unlike other groups, and as a result what...? They became wealthy and had an edge in every industry?

What about in arab countires, why were Jewish people there not working in land? Owning land there was not an issue.

Uhhhh. Anyone else notice a problem with this statement? :rolleyes:
What?
 
107
0
I refer of course to the ethnic Jews, ie. descendents of Israel. Just about every science book I own is either written by someone Jewish or is owned by a Jewish publisher. Everything from the New Math Library, to the Gelfand outreach programs, the yellow Springer math series, faviorates like Spivak, Rudin, Levine, Strauss, all the 'bergs' etc. I don't think I need to include their success in the financial, media, and political centers.

What is the most surprising is that they are a tiny portion of the American population (~2%). So my question is, how is it that a small group of people is capable of such success?
Obviously because they are shapeshifting lizards from another dimension, don't you know?
 
120
1
Obviously because they are shapeshifting lizards from another dimension, don't you know?
Are you implying that they are cold blooded?
 
this is rather long, but it addresses some of the cultural factors.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Art

I refer of course to the ethnic Jews, ie. descendents of Israel. Just about every science book I own is either written by someone Jewish or is owned by a Jewish publisher. Everything from the New Math Library, to the Gelfand outreach programs, the yellow Springer math series, faviorates like Spivak, Rudin, Levine, Strauss, all the 'bergs' etc. I don't think I need to include their success in the financial, media, and political centers.

What is the most surprising is that they are a tiny portion of the American population (~2%). So my question is, how is it that a small group of people is capable of such success?
Maybe this is just a US phenomenon. For example in Ireland the premier educational publisher, Folens, was started up by an ex Nazi, Albert Folens, who fled to Ireland after the war :uhh:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/nazi-background-of-prominent-irish-publisher-exposed-430713.html
 
6,171
1,275
Uhhhh. Anyone else notice a problem with this statement? :rolleyes:
He's Jewish: couple generations back it was "Oy, Bama!"
 
3,073
3
I think that the perceived ubiquity of Jewish influence is about as much zenophobic as it is actual, the positive being where one has grown up among Jews, the negative where familial abuse is scapegoated onto antisemitism. Of course, this can hold for other ethnic groups.
 
i barely knew what a jew was until i was a teenager. and didn't grow up around any sort of antijewish sentiments at all. but the heavy influence in certain professions is unmistakable. i don't see why it has to be a bad thing to recognize that.
 
3,073
3
I suppose I was speaking from my own experiences, Proton Soup.
 

Related Threads for: Why is everything Jewish?

  • Posted
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
17
Views
5K
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Posted
Replies
16
Views
5K
  • Posted
2
Replies
32
Views
7K
  • Posted
Replies
10
Views
2K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top