Ever Wondered Why Is It So Common for Jews to Be Filthy Rich? Let’s Unravel the Mystery.
Jewish people are richer than most and we want to understand why. So no, this isn’t an antisemitic article, it’s an educational one, and we hope you’ll learn something by the end.
Throughout history, Jewish people have been perceived as being wealthy. Where did that rhetoric stem from? We know Jewish people, like all people, have their wealthy, middle-class and their lower-income group, so Aluxers, today we’re going to delve deep into this thought process.
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If you want to watch a video instead of reading this article, here’s one we’ve made to cover this topic:
With that given, let’s move on to the first reason why Jewish people are rich in general.
Judaism and Wealth
Judaism, the religion, doesn’t consider wealth a sin, and it doesn’t cast poverty as a sign of righteousness as other beliefs might. Instead they believe that each person should avoid poverty and be gainfully employed to earn their own living. This is a fundamental value and has led to a good work ethic, and a personal responsibility for each person earning their own keep.
Jewish people believe in giving. They believe that 10 to 20 percent of wages should go towards religious and charitable causes. However, they don’t believe in relying on charity to lift yourself up and certainly not to become a burden on the community.
Growing up with this kind of mind set makes for a solid foundation to see success as the only option.
European Jews Couldn’t Own Land
If you think that anti-Semitism was only popularised in WW2, think again. Jewish people have had a tough history, including not being able to own land in Europe from as far back as the medieval times.
Where there is a will there’s a way, so the Jewish people found alternative ways to build their wealth outside of property owning, one of them being merchants and traders, industries to this day where they still have a big footprint in most countries. This created a safety net for Jewish communities, because where their services were needed, they were safe.
Religious Opportunity Was Taken
To Christians in the middle ages, charging interest was a sin. This prevented them from holding any type of financial job, leaving the opportunities in the field open to the Jewish community who did not see lending in the same way. This is a big reason why Jewish people are richer today.
Jewish people became prominent in moneylending businesses. The Jewish people’s early success in this lucrative business was a forerunner for many of the stereotypes we hear today of Jewish people.
Opened the First Banks
It was a hop and a skip from moneylending to opening the first banks in Europe for the Jewish community. They could manage transactions, transfers and day to day financial services, plus continue to lend money and charge interest with their strong background in finance.
This was a much needed service on a developing continent, and helped fuel further growth.
But it wasn’t all rosy, this success also led to jealousy, which fuelled much of the anti-Semitic sentiment throughout the ages.
Most Educated Religious Group
In 2016 the Pew Centre released a study which listed Jewish people as the most educated religious groups in the world. On average the Jewish community receive 13.4 years of schooling. When it comes to post-secondary degrees, Jewish people hold 61% of the qualifications.
What is more surprising is the vast difference between first and second most educated religions. Christians rank second most educated, but compared to the average of 13.4 years of schooling among Jewish people, Christians only rack up an average of 9.3 years at school.
More credentials lead to a higher starting salary. This immediately improves the financial status of Jewish people right out of university.
They Look After One Another
Perhaps it comes from a long history of being marginalised, or perhaps it is just inherent nature, but Jewish people are richer because they have a deep pride in sharing their wealth to benefit their community.
This mutual aid mentality is part of their ethos and ensures that each member in the community is supported to enable them to succeed. If someone opens a new business, the community will rally round and support it. If anyone falls on hard times, the community will try to help. Judaic Law instructs that poor people are to be respected and protected.
This strong focus on uplifting the whole community has meant that even shunned Jewish communities have managed to survive the hardest times by investing in one another.
The idea of wealth is not just to accumulate wealth, which is seen as vanity. Wealth is seen as a means to an end to grow a community. It is highly frowned upon to not give generously to the social and spiritual needs of the community.
Their Religion Teaches Good Business Practices
The Torah, and many Jewish philosophers, leaders, and writers, have made it clear how Jewish businesses must operate. According to these teachings there is absolutely no room for dishonest practices.
Any deception, collusion or price fixing against a consumer is known as Ona’ah which translated means “oppression.” Fleecing the consumer is seen as an oppression of their freedom.
Knowing that you are going into business with someone who is inspired to good ethics by a higher power makes Jewish business a very attractive business partner to many.
Resilience and Perseverance Are Second Nature
Despite extreme challenges, Jewish people have shown resilience throughout. It’s woven into their fabric and the focus remains on the spiritual and practical. With this resilience and perseverance, giving up is not an option. When things go wrong in business, which happens, there’s no self-pity but an attitude of, S*it happens – let’s figure out how to fix it.
As author of The Money Code: Become a Millionaire with the Ancient Jewish Code, HW Charles wrote, “The Jews are known for their perseverance and this is what helps them achieve their goals. Perseverance means continuous persistence in a course of action, a purpose, in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”
Good Financial Education Taught Over Generations
Jay Z got a lot of slack for his comments on Jewish people in his track “The Story of OJ.”
The controversial line was: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.”
It was seen by many experts as reinforcing the stereotype that Jewish people are richer and have some kind of global control of property and banks. However, Jay Z defenders saw it as a shout out to Jewish success, and a hint to the black community to follow similar business ventures and invest in each other.
The kind of generational knowledge and market confidence in the areas of finance and property that the Jewish community has is enviable, no matter who you support.
Parents Teach Their Children the Value of Money
In many households, speaking openly about finance is taboo. Parents try and protect their children by not sharing if they are having financial trouble, or if they’re wealthy, displaying that it’s ok to splurge.
By using 5 jars, many Jewish parents teach their children how to be money wise. Each jar is labelled: Tithe, Giving & Offering, Saving, Investing and Spending. Children are given 10 Shekels and the child puts 1 in the Tithe jar, 1 in Giving and Offering, 1 in savings, 2 in investing and 5 in spending.
The Giving jar is opened on Sundays, the Tithe (which means tenth in Hebrew) is opened at the end of the month, the savings is opened on special occasions and investing is only opened when full.
Parents don’t intervene and the child is responsible for the money. Children learn from their mistakes and take ownership of their decisions.
Wealth Is Managed Effectively
Sages of the Talmud: The Lives, Sayings and Stories of 400 Rabbinic Masters, a book written by Mordechai Judovits, is a great read. You can also hear it on Audible, and it shares many words of wisdom including how to manage money with spiritual motivation.
The book also touches on finances and diversification.
What diversification means is that capital is allocated in a way that doesn’t expose too much to one particular risk or asset, but rather spreads it out to reduce the risks.
To sum it up in its most basic form – don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
Networking Is Important
Aluxers, we all know how networking opens doors and business opportunities and only by actively engaging with others, can we grow our business and wealth.
People do business with those they know, trust and who are genuine. With Jewish communal life, there is ample opportunity to network. The Sabbath, Synagogue and Jewish celebrations help build long-lasting relationships, both in business and personal, making Jewish people even richer.
Look at the Past to Plan the Future
Aluxers, we’ve all heard the saying, “history repeating itself.”
The Jewish community are aware that any circumstances that arise are not new. By looking at similar situations that have happened in the past, it’s easier to make better business and financial decisions for the future.
Patterns repeat themselves. Wealth is gained by learning those patterns or trends, understanding market cycles, and gaining a foothold on worldwide currency.
Celso Cukierkorn, author of Secrets of Jewish Wealth Revealed, beautifully writes, “Until now, your money has told you what to do and how much to work. Now we’re going to turn that around. You’ll learn to tell your money what to do and how much to work for you.”
Advice From One of the Richest
Mark Zuckerberg was raised in a Reform Jewish household. He had a Star Wars-themed bar mitzvah! He was just 19 when he started Facebook in 2004.
Zuckerberg says he has become more religious since becoming a father and often dispenses great advice for up and coming business leaders. He says, “Some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it.”
To help you along your financial journey, we highly recommend you watch our video: 10 Life Hacks that actually work,” where we explain an interesting concept called Parkinson’s Law.
The Simple Truth
Aluxers, it is true that there are a lot of Jewish people that are rich and it’s also true that there are a lot that are poor. The same goes for every other person, Jewish or not.
The Torah does teach beautiful principles for success in life, which we can all learn from. Self-learning, education, and a hunger to learn, will set you on the right path to becoming financially secure.
Rebbetzin Dena Weinberg, Orthodox Jewish Rebbetzin and founder and dean of EYAHT College of Jewish Studies for Women in Jerusalem, shares advice we can all take in, “There are no problems, only opportunities for growth.”
While we’re on the subject of truths, would you dare to confront the “15 Brutal TRUTHS People Don’t Want to Hear?”
What lesson can you take away from today’s article Aluxers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.