[[quoteright:300:[[Film/{{Lepke}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/curtis_as_lepke_2535.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[{{Irony}} Shalom]].]]

->''"I used to tell Lansky that he may've had a Jewish mother, but someplace he must've been wet-nursed by a Sicilian."''
-->-- '''Charles "Lucky" Luciano''' on Meyer Lansky

Organized crime needs some kind of criminal underclass in order to exist. Criminal underclasses need some kind of social underclass in order to exist. And what group, historically, has generally been a social underclass? [[YouHaveToHaveJews Take a guess.]] Jewish mobsters are every bit as nasty as the other kinds, with the addition that they might have [[YiddishAsASecondLanguage Yiddish as a first language.]]

In fiction, the Kosher Nostra are rare, probably because Jewish organized crime tends to be rolled into other, larger organized criminal groups. In truth, the Jewish community was often too small to be the single dominant organized mob, and Jewish mobsters often made strategic alliances with a larger group, often ending up serving as advisors and technicians. From about [[TheRoaringTwenties Prohibition]] to some time in the 1960s or 1970s, the main allies were [[TheMafia the Italians]]. Nowadays, the Jewish mob is mostly focused in Israeli or [[TheMafiya Russian mobs]] (and as such, are more likely to qualify as RuthlessForeignGangsters). Still, they tend to pop up often enough in early-mid 20th century period pieces, particularly in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles and pre-Castro UsefulNotes/{{Cuba}}.

The Jewish mobster in fiction is often characterized as a MotorMouth, with a tendency to [[AffablyEvil act polite and friendly]] until they get [[HairTriggerTemper suddenly]] and [[AxCrazy horrifically]] violent. Comedic tropes applied to Jews usually are not applied to Kosher Nostra types - in other words, Jewish gangsters who [[JewsLoveToArgue argue]] and [[JewishComplaining complain]] a lot (probably written [[SelfDeprecation by someone Jewish]]) are rare.

Transparent NoCelebritiesWereHarmed versions of the most famous RealLife examples, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, are particularly common (Lansky's friends joked that he behaved more "Italian" than most Italians). Historically, the Jewish Mob was a dominant force in the brief period between when White America started seeing Irishmen as "white" and the rise of the more numerous Italian Mob. During that period, they were involved in the regularization and "professionalization" of organized crime in the US, with the establishment of [[TheSyndicate The Commission]] (the Italian-American Mafia's coordination/dispute-resolution body) and MurderInc (organized, professional hitmen) being the brainchildren of Jewish mobsters (the Commission and Murder, Inc.'s parent organization, the National Crime Syndicate, were specifically Lansky's ideas).

Compare TheMafia, TheMafiya, TheCartel, TheTriadsAndTheTongs, {{Yakuza}} and TheIrishMob.


[[folder: Comics ]]

* The first arc of Creator/DCComics book ''ComicBook/{{Caper}}'' by Creator/JuddWinick was about two brothers in the Jewish Mafia in turn of the century San Francisco.
* Several ''ComicBook/SandmanMysteryTheatre'' stories feature Jewish gangsters, including the very first one.
* A ''Blackhawks'' mini-series in the 80s had Jewish gangsters aiding the heroes against Nazis.


[[folder: Film ]]

* The character of Moe Greene in ''Film/TheGodfather'' is based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugsy_Siegel Bugsy Siegel]].
* The character of Hyman Roth in ''Film/TheGodfatherPartII'' was based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meyer_Lansky Meyer Lansky]]. Lansky (played by Creator/DustinHoffman) is a bit player in Andy Garcia's film ''The Lost City'', as well.
* ''Film/{{Bugsy}}'' about... well, Bugsy Siegel. Lansky is in this one too; understandable, given they were lifelong friends. Until Lansky [[OnlyICanKillHim ordered a hit on him.]]
* Bugsy and Lansky also appear in ''Film/{{Mobsters}}'', with Lansky shown as Lucky Luciano's number two, and the brains of the team.
* Marty Augustine (Mark Rydell) is one of these in ''Film/TheLongGoodbye.''
* In ''Film/{{Snatch}}'', the characters make several references to the involvement of Jews in the diamond trade. There are several crooked Jewish gangsters mixed up in it.
* ''Film/OnceUponATimeInAmerica'': Noodles is a Jewish-American gangster. Plus, the character of Maximilian "Max" Bercovicz was inspired by Lansky.
* Dutch Schultz in ''Film/{{Hoodlum}}''.
* Bernie Bernbaum in ''Film/MillersCrossing'' is a Jewish-American gangster who gets into some heat with the local Italian gang.
* ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'' features a boss named The Rabbi. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Because he's a Rabbi]]. Several of his enforcers are [[BadassIsraeli ex-Mossad.]] On first meeting the Rabbi, Slevin asks how he reconciles being a rabbi with the shotgun he's holding. The Rabbi answers that killing Slevin in "self-defense" would be acceptable, as far as the religious texts are concerned.
* ''Film/LeGrandPardon'' is basically a French and Jewish Pied-Noir version of ''Film/TheGodfather''.
* Sam "Ace" Rothstein in ''Film/{{Casino}}'', a crooked Jewish casino mogul with ties to the mob. He's based on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal.
* Nino and Bernie in ''Film/{{Drive}}'' are Jewish gangsters. Nino sets the events of the film in motion with his plan to rip off the Italian Mafia.
* ''Film/EightMenOut'' is about the 1919 White Sox scandal. It features Arnold Rothstein and a few minor gangsters under his employ.
* ''Film/LittleOdessa'' is about Jewish Russian mobsters in Brighton Beach.
* In ''Film/LAConfidential'', Mickey Cohen's arrest and fall from power in the opening serves as the instigator of the plot as the criminals of the city try to fill the EvilPowerVacuum.
* Cohen is also the main antagonist in ''Film/GangsterSquad''.
* Creator/RobertDeNiro's character in ''Film/AmericanHustle'' is Italian, but he's said to be the right-hand man of a never-seen Meyer Lansky.
* In the 2016 Creator/WoodyAllen offering, ''Film/CafeSociety'', the protagonist's brother is a Jewish-American gangster.
* The 1974 film adaptation of ''Film/TheGreatGatsby'' features the character Meyer Wolfsheim, from the original book. He's a Jewish gangster based on Arnold Rothstein who wears human molars as cufflinks.
* The page image is of Creator/TonyCurtis in the title role of ''Film/{{Lepke}}'', a biopic of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, a Jewish-American mobster who with Albert Anastasia was one of the founders of the Mafia hit squad later known as Murder Inc.
* In ''Holly Rollers'', Sam Gold (Creator/JesseEisenberg) is a Hasidic Jew who is recruited as a mule to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States.

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/TheYiddishPolicemensUnion'' takes place in an alternate history where Jews settled in an Alaskan city after Israel lost in the Independence War. There's plenty of crime and intrigue in the almost exclusively Jewish metropolis. The most notable criminal organization is an ultra-Orthodox religious sect called the Verboven. The sect's head rabbi is TheDon.
* In ''Literature/AConspiracyOfPaper'', one of the characters is Abraham Mendes, a historical figure, who in reality, as in the novels, is the chief lieutenant of the gangster Jonathan Wild. The novels have a definite hardboiled detective feel (despite the 18th century setting), and likewise, Mendes fits a lot of the 20th century (Jewish) gangster stereotypes. He's a violent thug in professional life, but when not engaged in crime, is a pleasant man who goes to synagogue regularly. He also fits the erratic temper part. The second novel shows him to be an animal lover, and he brutally attacks someone who had harmed a dog.
* The gangsters in Shea and Wilson's ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' trilogy are used to confound the expectation that all American gangsters are or were Italian-American. "Dutch Schultz" and Weissmann are clearly Jewish.
* ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby'' has Gatsby's shady business partner Meyer Wolfsheim, who is a pretty obvious NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of Arnold Rothstein, right down to "rumored to have fixed the 1919 World Series".
* EL Doctorow's ''Billy Bathgate'' is about [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Schultz Dutch Schultz]], real life Jewish mobster. (Played by Creator/DustinHoffman in TheFilmOfTheBook).
* Fictional UrExample: [[TheFagin Fagin]] in ''Literature/OliverTwist''. Believed to have been inspired by real Jewish LondonGangster [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikey_Solomon Isaac "Ikey" Solomon]].
* ''Literature/TheGodfather'': In the original novel, Don Vincent Forlenza, Don of the Cleveland family, earned his organization the nickname of "the Jewish mob" by surrounding himself with Jewish associates.
* The kingpin of 50's Los Angeles, Mickey Cohen, plays a prominent role in ''Literature/LAConfidential''.
* In the Creator/AndrewVachss Burke book ''Mask Market'' [[spoiler: what initially seem to be TheMafiya turn out to be these.]]
* The Russian-Jewish author Isaac Babel wrote a series of picaresque stories called "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Odessa_Tales The Odessa Tales]]", set in the Jewish underworld of Odessa in the early 20th century. The stories revolve around the bandit "King" Benya Krik, who is somewhat based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishka_Yaponchik Mishka Yaponchik]], including an ultimate violent end/status as a Revolutionary hero.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Jewish gangsters feature prominently in ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire''. Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Seigel and Waxy Gordon are all characters of varying importance. Manny Horvitz is a [[OriginalCharacter (fictional)]] kosher butcher who is vying with Gordon over control of Philadelphia. One of few works of fiction to address Rothstein's poker habit, which eventually put him in debt [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter to a better gambler]], who had him murdered in 1928.
* ''The Life and Adventures of Mishka Yaponchik'' was a Russian TV Series about one prominent Russian-Jewish gangster from Odessa. The later-famous Red commander Kotovsky was also a gang member and there was a TV series produced about him.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'': Toby's father, Julie, was a [[ProfessionalKiller hitman]] for MurderInc. He justifies his past work as both [[PunchClockVillain providing for his family]] and only [[PayEvilUntoEvil affecting fellow criminals]]. Though Julie served time for his crimes and later had a normal career making ladies' raincoats, Toby has long resented him, both for his criminal acts and the emotional distance the family suffered by his job and time in prison.
* ''Series/TheSopranos'' had Hesh Rabkin, Jewish music producer who did business with the show's Italian mafia. He may have been based on music mogul [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Levy Morris "Mo" Levy]], a real-life Jewish producer with mafia ties.
* ''Series/{{Oz}}'' features Nikolai Stanislofsky, a Russian Jewish gangster.
* Also from HBO, ''[[Series.{{Rome}} Rome]]'' has Timon[=/=]Tevye, a bodyguard working for gentile Romans in an OlderThanFeudalism example.
* In ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'', Bobby Elvis is a Jewish member of the gun-running Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club. He moonlights as an Elvis impersonator for bar mitzvahs and such. His father was a bookie for the mob.
* Michael Weston has run into the modern version of these guys once or twice on ''Series/BurnNotice'', the most notable case being the Zamar family from season 1. The Zamar patriarch is an ex-Mossad officer who has turned ArmsDealer and is teaching the trade to his sons as well.
* ''Series/PeakyBlinders'' has Alfie Solomons and his gang. Uncharacteristic for the trope, Alfie and his gang are noticeably blue-collar, with Alfie sporting a thick cockney accent. The London underworld has (or had) a strong Jewish influence in real life, and the character's name was taken from a real Jewish gangster whose name appeared many times in court transcripts during the era.
* ''Series/CrimeStory'' had another Lansky {{Expy}} in the form of Manny Weisboard. His protege and representative with the Italian mob was Max Goldman.
* Season 2 of ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' features the AmbiguouslyJewish Kansas City mob, which features a number of gangsters who occasionally spout Yiddish, have a very dim view of Germans, and are played by very Jewish actors.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''Videogame/LANoire'' has a couple of these, as you might guess from the page quote. The first is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Cohen Mickey Cohen]], based on the real-life gangster who was something of celebrity in L.A. during the 40's and 50's. The second is Lenny Finklestein, a drug-dealer [[spoiler: whom you wind up killing while investigating morphine-trafficking]].
* The 3rd Street Saints in ''Videogame/SaintsRow'' might be channeling the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_gang Purple Gang]], a prohibition-era crew of alcohol runners. Like the old Gang, The Saints all wear purple, the default car is "The Bootlegger," and they're known for openly violent crimes and intra-gang violence.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' has the Jewish Mob responsible for the diamond deal that serves as the focus of a major subplot. The boss and his right hand man (Isaac Roth and Mori Green respectively) are [[ShoutOut Shout Outs]] to the famous ''Godfather'' characters.
* The BigBad of ''Videogame/TheShivah'' is one of these, running a small LoanShark racket out of a synagogue on the western side of Manhattan and allied with more traditional mafioso. The surprising part is that [[spoiler: he's the rabbi of the synagogue.]]
* TheMafiya group featured in ''VideoGame/WatchDogs2'' have many Russian-Jewish members, putting them into conflict with the local white supremacist biker gang.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'': Mordecai Heller, who looks more like an accountant than the most cold-blooded hitman in St. Louis.
* The Blutenstein clan in ''Webcomic/{{DocRat}}'' has shades of this, being a family with a seemingly Jewish last name and a great deal of influence and no qualms about kidnapping and hogtying members of rival clans.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Zalmie Belinksy in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanPop''.


[[folder: Real Life ]]
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purple_Gang The Purple Gang]] were probably the most well-known example from the Roaring Twenties. They controlled bootlegging and union extortion in {{UsefulNotes/Detroit}}, and were [[TheDreaded so feared]] that even AlCapone didn't dare mess with them, instead forming a partnership to distribute the Canadian liquor they imported into Chicago, which just goes to show that [[{{Memes/Advertising}} you don't have to be Jewish]] [[IncrediblyLamePun to love real Jewish rye]].
* A [[BadassIsraeli modern equivalent]] are [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_mafia Israeli organized crime gangs]].
* The real-life [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder,_Inc Murder Inc]]. was a gang of Jewish and Italian hitmen in the 1930s who acted as enforcers for the New York underworld.
* London, like New York, had its own Jewish population during the early 20th century, which gave rise to local Jewish gangs. The Jewish influence is still echoed in a few Yiddish words that percolated into the criminal argot, such as "keep ''schtum''," meaning "keep quiet."