As other religious beliefs that poverty is a sign of righteousness, this is not a belief for Judaism. The Jewish people believe that each person should avoid poverty and be gainfully employed to earn a living. This is a fundamental value that has led to a good work ethic and a personal responsibility for each person earning their own keep.
The Jews also believe in giving, 10-20% of their wages should go towards charitable and religious causes. However, they don’t believe in relying on charity and not becoming a burden on the community.
This kind of mindset makes for a solid foundation to see success as the only option.
- EUROPEAN JEWS COULDN’T OWN LAND
Anti-Semitism was not unpopularized in WW2. Jewish people have had a tough history, including not being able to own land in Europe. This dates far back to medieval times. The Jewish people found alternative ways to build their wealth outside of property ownership.
One of the alternatives was being traders and merchants to date where they still have a big impact in most countries.
This has created a safe place for them since where their services were needed, they were safe.
- RELIGIOUS OPPORTUNITY WAS TAKEN
Charging interest in the middle ages was a sin to Christians. This hindered them from holding any type of financial job. This, in turn, left the opportunity open for the Jewish community, who did not share the same views with the Christians.
This is a big contributing factor to why the Jewish people are richer today. The Jewish people became prominent in money lending businesses, and this lucrative business was the forerunner for many of the stereotypes we hear today of Jewish people.
- OPENED THE FIRST BANKS
From moneylending to opening the first banks was a hop and skip in Europe for the Jewish community. They could manage transfers, transactions, and day-to-day financial services. Also, they continue to lend money and charge interest with their strong financial background.
However, it wasn’t all easy for them, this success also led to jealousy which fueled rivalry throughout the ages.
- MOST EDUCATED RELIGIOUS GROUP
The Pew Centre released a study in 2016 which listed the Jewish people as the most educated religious group in the world. On average, the Jewish community receives 13.4 years of schooling. The Jewish people hold 61% of the qualifications when it comes to post-secondary degrees.
Although, the vast difference between the first and second most educated religions is so surprising. Christians rank second most educated but compared to the average of 13.4 years of schooling among the Jewish people, they only rank up an average of 9.3 years at school.
Since 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
Maybe it comes from a long history of persecution, or perhaps it is just inborn nature, but the Jewish people are richer because they take pride in sharing their wealth to benefit the community.
This mentality is part of their ethos, and it ensures that each member of the community is supported to enable them to succeed. If someone falls on hard times, the community will try to help. The Judaic law instructs that poor people are to be respected and protected. This mantra on uplifting the whole community has meant that even the shunned Jewish communities manage to survive the hardest of times by investing in one another. Wealth is seen as a means to an end to growing a community.
- THEIR RELIGION TEACHES GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES
The Torah and many Jewish philosophers, writers, and leaders have emphasized how Jewish businesses must operate. According to the teachings, there is no room for dishonest practices. Any deception or price-fixing against the customer is known as Ona’ah, which translated means “oppression.”
Knowing that you’re doing business with an honest person who is inspired by good ethics makes the Jewish business a very attractive business partner to many.
- RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE ARE SECOND NATURE
Jewish people have shown resilience despite extreme challenges. It is innate, and the focus remains on the spiritual and practical. With this, they find it hard to give up. This means that when things go wrong in business, they don’t feel sorry for themselves but figure out how to fix things.
This resilience and perseverance help them to achieve their goals.
- GOOD FINANCIAL EDUCATION TAUGHT OVER GENERATIONS
Jay Z got some backlash 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. Do you ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This is how they did it.”
Many experts saw these comments as reinforcing the stereotype that Jewish people are richer and have some kind of global control of property and banks. Jay Z defenders, however, saw it as a shout out to Jewish success and a hint to the black community to follow the same business ventures and invest in each other.
This kind of generational knowledge and market confidence in finance and property that the Jewish community has is enviable.
- PARENTS TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THE VALUE OF MONEY
In many households, speaking about finances openly is taboo. Parents try to protect their children by not sharing their financial struggles with them or if they are wealthy. By using 5 jars, many Jewish parents teach their children how to handle their money wisely. Each jar is labeled: tithe, giving and offering, saving, investing, and spending. The 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 jar is opened at the end of the month, the savings is opened on special occasions, and investing is opened when full. The parents don’t interfere with this structure, and the child is responsible for the money. Children learn from their mistakes and take charge of their decisions.
- WEALTH IS MANAGED EFFECTIVELY
Sages of the Talmud: The Lives, Sayings, and 400 Rabbinic Masters, a book written by Mordechai Judovits, is a great read. You can also get it on audio. It shares many words of wisdom, including how to manage money with spiritual motivation.
The book also talks about finances and diversification. Diversification means that capital is allocated so that it does not expose too much to one particular risk or asset but rather spreads it out to reduce the risks.
- NETWORKING IS IMPORTANT
We all know how networking opens doors for business opportunities and only by actively participating with others. This will ensure we grow our business and wealth. People do business with those they know, trust, and who are genuine. With the Jewish community, there is ample opportunity to network. For instance, the sabbath, synagogue, and Jewish celebrations help build a long-lasting relationship, both personal and business. This kind of networking is what makes them even richer.
- LOOK AT THE PAST TO PLAN THE FUTURE
The Jewish community is aware that any circumstances that arise are not new. Looking at familiar situations that happened in the past makes it easier to make better decisions for the business.
As we all know, patterns repeat themselves, and wealth is gained by learning those patterns or trends. Celso Cukierkorn, the author of “Secrets of Jewish wealth Revealed,” writes, “until now, your money has told you what to do and how much to work. Now we are going to turn that around. You will 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. He says he has become more religious since becoming a father, and he often gives great advice for upcoming business leaders. He says, “some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it.”
- THE SIMPLE TRUTH
There are indeed a lot of Jewish people that are rich, and also true that there are some that are poor. The same goes for every other person, Jewish or not. The Torah teaches beautiful principles for success in life, which we can all learn from. The thirst for learning 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.”
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- Renewed Anti-Semitism in Germany: News Analysis
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