November 4th Jewdayo: Arnold “the Brain” Rothstein

Rothstein does not look at all like Omar Sharif, who portrayed him in “Funny Girl.” Of all his nefarious deeds, the one I am most bothered by, oddly, is fixing the World Series. The so-called “black socks scandal” was a huge nail in the coffin of our notion of heroism. We suffer more than we know from the permeating since of cynicism which affects our social life, political life and home life. Certainly it is wise not “to put not [our] trust in princes,” yet not having anyone to admire provides protection from exploitation but at the same time closes us off from hope that our own best instincts might prevail.

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Gambler and mobster Arnold Rothstein was shot in a New York hotel in a dispute over gambling debts on this date in 1928. He died two days later, age 46. Rothstein was an early bootlegger during Prohibition and is believed to have been the gambler behind the “fixing” of the 1919 World Series, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox (henceforth called the Black Sox) were bribed to lose games intentionally. Historian Leo Katcher described Rothstein, whose father Abraham was a wealthy businessman and chair of the board of Beth Israel Hospital, as “the J. P. Morgan of the underworld; its banker and master of strategy,” while Meyer Lansky said “Rothstein had the most remarkable brain. He understood business instinctively and I’m sure that if he had been a legitimate financier he would have been just as rich as he became with his gambling and the other rackets he ran.” Among those “rackets” was the narcotics trade, for which Rothstein provided significant capital. His henchmen during the 1920s included Dutch Schultz, “Legs” Diamond, “Lucky” Luciano, and Frank Costello. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald based his character Meyer Wolfsheim on Arnold Rothstein, as did Damon Runyan his character Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.“If a man is dumb, someone is going to get the best of him, so why not you? If you don’t, you’re as dumb as he is.” –Arnold RothsteinWant to comment? Click here.

On this Jewdayo in 2013:

Gay, Gay, Is There Another Way?

On this Jewdayo in 2012:
President Obama

On this Jewdayo in 2011:

The Assassination of Yitzkhak Rabin

On This Jewdayo in 2010:

Joseph Rotblat


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