Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
“It’s part of our history,” author Ron Arons told The Jewish Press. “Just to say we have hundreds of Nobel Prize winners ignores the fact that we have problems too.”
Last Thursday, Arons spoke to several dozens of mostly senior citizens at the Lower East Side’s Educational Alliance about his book, published last year, The Jews of Sing Sing (Barricade Books).
Sing Sing, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York, saw over 6,000 Jews pass through its doors between 1880 and 1950. Grand larceny, burglary, and robbery accounted for 70 percent of the Jewish prisoners’ crimes, but Sing Sing’s Jews also committed such offenses as homicide, arson, and counterfeiting. Forty-one Jewish criminals died in Sing Sing’s electric chair.
Arons stumbled on the world of Jewish criminality accidentally when, in the course of researching family history, he discovered his great-grandfather had served four years in Sing Sing for bigamy. “I could not believe my eyes,” Arons writes about seeing his great-grandfather’s 1897 prison admission record.
Arons said he is still “somewhat shocked” by the discovery but said he feels no shame by his forbear’s transgressions. “It has no reflection on me as far as I’m concerned. You can’t pick your parents, much less your great-grandparents. I had nothing to do with it.”
Nor does Arons worry much about the image of Jews his book projects. “Every immigrant group has a criminal element to it, so to say we didn’t have it is just ignorant To be elitist and claim we only did good things brings on anti-Semitism. To say we’re more like other people I think actually reduces anti-Semitism.”
The crowd at Arons’s lecture seemed to agree with his sentiments. One local woman, Grace Cohen, told The Jewish Press, “As a volunteer for the Fortune Society I work with young people who’ve come out of prison. They’re primarily Hispanics and African Americans, and you start to think, ‘Well, it’s only the African Americans and the Hispanics who are in prison.’ But it’s not true. Look at what we’ve learned today.”
Another local woman who preferred to remain anonymous concurred. “It’s nice to know that we’re not angels, that we’re just like other people.” She acknowledged she “personally could have lived without [the information],” but at the end of the day, “it’s a fact of life. You cannot hide it.”
About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”
The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths
JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted
The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.
What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?
Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.
In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:
BDS activists are not shy about discriminating against Israelis simply because they are Israelis –
A Federal Ct Judge ordered the PA to post JUST $10 million due to interfering letter from State Dept
Osakwe, like many other students at the CAMERA conference, described an extremely hostile campus environment when it comes to the issue of Israel.
Many people view a letter or manuscript by a chassidic rebbe or the Chofetz Chaim as intrinsically holy.
Key Iran Lobby figures had been major donors to both Biden and Kerry when they were in the Senate,
How do you account for Jews who join Israel’s enemies in denouncing and boycotting the Jewish state?
Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.
In his day, Rav Kook was the greatest writer of haskamot and pretty much everyone in the Lithuanian Torah world wanted his approbation.
But on the human level, public protest played a very central role. And that’s not my position – it’s the position of historians who are experts in this area.
When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/author-lectures-on-jewish-bigamists-murderers-and-thieves/2009/10/28/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: