6 J. Gender Race & Just. 1 (2002)
The Drug War and the American Jewish Community: 1880 to 2002 and Beyond

handle is hein.journals/jgrj6 and id is 7 raw text is: The Drug War and the American Jewish
Community: 1880 to 2002 and Beyond
Abraham Abramovsky* & Jonathan . Edelstein
INTRODUCTION
In 1983, Professor Albert Fried, the pre-eminent historian of crime in
the American Jewish community, entitled his seminal work The Rise and
Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America.1 From the perspective of a historian
writing at that time, it is easy to see how Professor Fried felt justified in
concluding that the Jewish gangster had fallen. Meyer Lansky, who was
considered the very symbol of Jewish involvement in organized crime by
American law enforcement, historians, and media, had died earlier in the
year.2 The Jewish gangsters that preyed on their Lower East Side brethren
prior to World War I, and the Jewish bootleggers, drug dealers, and labor
racketeers who worked in tandem with the Italian Mafia during the
Prohibition era, had become extinct. Moreover, the poor inner-city Jewish
community that had provided the nurturing ground for these gangsters had,
for the most part, given way to suburban prosperity.3 By 1983, crime was
considered a historical rather than a current problem within the American
Jewish community.
Professor Fried was correct in concluding that the Jewish gangsters
who had come of age during the Prohibition era were no more. However, as
a historian, his focus was on the past rather than the present or future, and
*   Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law; Director, International Criminal
Law Center. J.S.D., Columbia University, 1976; LL.M., Columbia University, 1972; J.D., Buffalo
Law School, 1971; B.A., Queens College, 1968.
**  Attorney in private practice. J.D., Fordham University, 1997; B.A., John Jay College of
Criminal Justice, 1992. This Article is dedicated to the Army National Guard battalion of which 1
am a member, the 230th Signal, which was called up along with other New York units on
September 11, 2001.
1. See generally ALBERT FRIED, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE JEWISH GANGSTER IN
AMERICA (1983).
2. See ROBERT LACEY, LITTLE MAN: MEYER LANSKY AND THE GANGSTER LIFE 421
(1991).
3. FRIED, supra note 1, at 258-86.

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