Since the nineteenth century Jews have been involved in organized crime all over the U.S. Some of the most famous mafiosos including Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Mickey Cohen were all Jewish boys who grew into some of the most influential underground figures we know. These activities flourished during Prohibition, as many became deeply entrenched in bootlegging, gambling, and murder.
Learn about the so-called “Kosher Nostra” with Robert Rockaway, author of But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters and Joe Kraus, author of The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters. Moderated by Geoff Schumacher, Vice President of Exhibits and Programs at The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas.
Robert Rockaway was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 1970. He taught at the University of Texas before moving to Israel in 1971. Since then, he has been a member of the Department of Jewish History at Tel-Aviv University, where he is professor emeritus. Rockaway has authored The Jews of Detroit, From the Beginning: 1760-1914, Words of the Uprooted: Jewish Immigrants in Early 20th Century America, and But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters. Rockaway has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, Boston University, San Diego State University, and George Washington University; as well as a visiting scholar and guest lecturer in Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, and Melbourne, Australia. He has appeared on radio and television in Israel and the United States.
Joe Kraus is Professor and Chair of the Department of English & Theatre at the University of Scranton where he teaches creative writing and American literature. He is the author of The Kosher Capones and co-author of An Accidental Anarchist. His academic and creative work has appeared, among other places, in The American Scholar, Baltimore Review, Riverteeth, Moment, Southern Humanities Review, and Under the Sun. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee and past-President of MELUS.
Geoff Schumacher, Vice President of Exhibits and Programs for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, is the author of two books, Sun, Sin & Suburbia: A History of Modern Las Vegas and Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his master’s degree in American history from Arizona State University. He started his 25-year journalism career at the Las Vegas Sun, served as director of community publications for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and wrote a public affairs column for the Review-Journal. He has been interviewed as a subject matter expert for newspapers, magazines, documentaries, television shows, and podcasts, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Netflix, History Channel, Travel Channel, and PBS.