web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Were J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller Jewish?

These Jewish success books are "very dangerous."

The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy.

The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy.

Were J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller Jewish? No, they were not Jews. But many people in China think that they were. An utterly amazing positive stereotype of Jews permeates China.

I felt this great warmth when I visited in 1991 as a professor of Jewish Studies. I was invited to lecture at universities and institutes and was treated like royalty.

Chinese Equate Jews with Wealth

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post News Service

SHANGHAI, China — Showcased in bookstores between biographies of Andrew Carnegie and the newest treatise by China’s president are stacks of works built on a stereotype.

One promises “The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish.”

Another title teases readers with “The Legend of Jewish Wealth.” A third provides a look at “Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives.”

In the United States, where making broad generalizations about races, cultures or religions has become unacceptable in most circles, the titles of some of these books might make people cringe. Throughout history and around the world, even outwardly innocuous and broadly accepted characterizations of Jews have sometimes formed the basis for eventual campaigns of violent anti-Semitism.

In Shanghai, which prides itself on having provided a safe haven for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe since the 1930s, some members of the city’s small Jewish community are uneasy about the books’ message.

These Jewish success books are “very dangerous,” said Audrie Ohana, 30, who works at her family’s import-export company and attended China’s prestigious Fudan University. “What they say — it’s not true. In our community, it’s not everybody that succeeds. We’re like everyone else. Some are rich, but there are others that are very, very poor.”

Nonetheless, in China, a country where glossy pictures of new billionaires have become as common as images of Mao Zedong, aspiring Chinese entrepreneurs are obsessed with getting their hands on anything they think can help them get an edge on the competition.

In the past few years, sales of “success” books have skyrocketed, publishers say, and now make up nearly a third of the works published in China, and perhaps no type of success book has been as well-marketed or well-received as those that purport to unveil the secrets of Jewish entrepreneurs.

Many of these tomes sell upward of 30,000 copies a year and are thought of in the same inspirational way as many Americans view the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.

Some of the business success books, despite their covers, focus on basic business acumen that has little to do with religion or culture. But others focus on explaining how Judaism has ostensibly helped Jewish people’s success, even quoting extensively from the Talmud.

Practically every book features one or more case studies of the success of the Lehman brothers, the Rothschilds and other Jewish “titans of industry and captains of finance,” as one author put it.

Some works even refer to J.P. Morgan, an influential Episcopalian leader, and John D. Rockefeller, a devout Baptist, as Jewish businessmen.

Most Chinese people have never met a Jew — they number fewer than 10,000 in a country of 1.3 billion people.

But several of the most successful businessmen in the nation’s financial capital, Shanghai, have been Jewish. The Sassoon brothers, for instance, were real-estate moguls of British descent from Baghdad, Iraq, who constructed the landmark Peace Hotel.

Positive stereotypes about Jews and their supposed business prowess have given the Jewish community iconic status in the eyes of the Chinese public.

The cover of January’s Shanghai and Hong Kong Economy magazine wonders, “Where does Jewish people’s wisdom come from?”

Jewish entrepreneurs say they are bombarded with invitations to give seminars on how to make money “the Jewish way.”

Last year, a Jewish businessman’s family was featured on a popular TV show. As the husband and wife gave viewers an introduction to the Jewish faith, the cameramen went around filming the family in action as they performed mundane household tasks. Reporters asked them what they ate.

Wang Zhen, a researcher at the Center for Jewish Studies, says he recognizes that the stereotypes can be considered anti-Semitic, but thinks it’s important that “even if people in China have the wrong impressions of Jewish people, the Chinese are very kind to them.”

Visit The Talmudic Blog.

About the Author: Tzvee Zahavy is a triathlon swimmer, a competitive golfer, a prolific author of books on Judaism, a prize-winning professor with a PhD from Brown University, a compassionate rabbi with semicha from Yeshiva University, and a fun guy.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Were J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller Jewish?”

  1. Similar to the westerners turning to Chinese medicine

  2. The Chinese have a point when a very ,very small percentage of the Global population is responsible for so many positive and rewarding achievements..Jews should be proud but vigilent to envious entities. thank you.

  3. Cody Flecker says:

    THis explains why so many Jewish People really enjoy Chinese food.

  4. Envy leads to jealousy. China is ripe for another communist revolution, and when that happens, it's not good to be associated with the wealthy and affluent. Luckily, Asian cultures teach manners, and I don't think we'll see Chinese versions of the 'knockout' game any time soon.

  5. We are all the roots of the Jewish people. Remember Abraham!!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Eleven people were injured by a motorist who plowed into a crowd in southern France. The driver yelled "Allahu Akbar" as he attacked. Dec. 21, 2014
French Driver Shouting “Allahu Akbar” Plows into Crowd
Latest Blogs Stories
Lehava head led away in handcuffs

Limiting Jewish success and revival is that the anti-Jewish, anti-History Left rules here in Israel

Young Ultra Orthodox kids sit in a classroom in a school in the neighborhood of Neve Yaakov in Jerusalem

The crisis in Jewish education is of existential importance. How should it be resolved?

George Orwell was an anti-radical, anti-totalitarian socialist who admired the United States.

BBC GUIDELINES ON TERRORISM: The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid…

Doug Goldstein

Discussion with entrepreneur William Heinecke on how he became a young, successful businessman

Did Cuba apologize for their spies the way Israel apologized for Pollard?

Nothing binds Jews together more than Torah observance; Or so one would think.

Sukkah tinsel decorations enjoy a robust market but are invariably manufactured for “another”holiday

A number of Israeli papers regurgitated a biased AP article on settlement growth, but they should have read it more carefully before hitting publish.

Many of the battles of the Maccabees were right here in the Shiloh area.

Both Labor and Likud are expected to get more seats in the upcoming elections.

Get a straight answer from Edward de Bono to the question: What is lateral thinking?

Jewish communities worldwide commemorate Yehudit during Chanukah by eating dairy foods in her honor

Israel’s problem isn’t Indyk, Obama, UN, NGOs or even the media; Our problem is much closer to home.

None of the attacks on Jewish & property should come as a surprise in light of the Temple Mount.

No surprise! Israel is now being blamed for Ziad Abu Ein’s death.

How does the new U.S. tax amnesty affect American citizens living in Israel and abroad?

More Articles from Tzvee Zahavy
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein

One of us had the chutzpah to ask him to join the ball game. He said okay and he played aggressively.

woman of the wall

I believe it is essential for Orthodox Judaism to change and to provide women with full equality, including minyan, aliyahs and ordination.

The owners of the Rap Genius web site continue to describe it as the Talmud for rap.

Our club, Northwest Racket and Swim in St. Louis Park, had a wonderful yoga program.

These Jewish success books are “very dangerous.”

This translation, (approx. 665 pages) adheres closely to the text so that the reader has a sense of the structure and balance of the original.

Islamic yoga objections are more worrisome as the proponents of yoga in Muslim lands try to “avoid a fatwa.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-talmudic-blog/were-j-p-morgan-and-john-d-rockefeller-jewish/2013/12/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: