Sallie Turman – Professor of Criminology at SCC
Sallie Terman – Lectures on Jewish Gangsters at Beth Ami
On Saturday, February 21, it was a full house at Beth Ami Temple when Sallie Terman, professor of Criminology at Scottsdale Community College, gave a talk on Jewish Gangsters, the Early Years. The speech was very entertaining. Sallie is a “pro” and it is understandable why her classes on Serial & Mass Murder are so popular that they are “standing room only”. The audience loved the speech and the evening concluded with a question and answer period.
The immigration wave of the Jews was from the 1890’s to the 1920’s. which followed the Irish and Italians. Jewish juveniles called the Corner Boys hung around street corners in lower New York and Brooklyn, acted tough and looking to be noticed by gangster groups and eventually were invited to join them. They joined the Italians, rise to leadership and made up half of the gangsters in the country during this period.
Arnold Rothstein was the original kingpin, and the brains, who together with Lucky Luciano, formed the Crime Syndicate and Murder, Inc. The Crime Syndicate operated as a major business and was the beginning of organized crime in the country. Prohibition was a major factor contributing to the growth of organized crime. Although it was illegal to transport liquor, it was not illegal to sell it.
Sallie sketched out the background and careers of a number of other well-known Jewish gangsters including Dutch Schultz; Myer Lansky and Bugs Siegel. Bugs Siegel got his name because he was so “flighty” growing up. However, no one called him Bugs in his presence. He was eliminated by the syndicate because he skimmed money from them while running the Flamingo Casino in the early days of Las Vegas.
Unlike many criminals of the period, most Jewish gangsters were close to their mothers and families, but kept their activities secret from them They did not want their children in the business and as such, had no successors.“ These Jewish boys murdered, stole and cheated on their wives, but they were always good to their ‘mommas’.” They were strong family men, moved into society, sent their children to universities and into business to live the American Dream. Although not formally religious, they fought against antisemitism, breaking-up American Fund rallies, and were supporters of Israel.
Sallie’s lecture was well worth the money. To quote Dutch Schultz: Wisdom is a good purchase, though we pay dear for it.
Donna Horwitz the Event Organizer and Sallie Terman Speaker