First, I’ll give some background about who some of the famous Jewish mobsters were and what they were instrumental in doing.
One of the most famous Jewish mobsters was Arnold Rothstein, known as the ‘Moses of Jewish Gangsters’. It’s said about him by Leo Katcher, a crime writer, that Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein "understood the truths of early 20th century capitalism (hypocrisy, exclusion, greed) and came to dominate them"
A large wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the late-19th century and early 20th century produced Jewish mobsters such as Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach, "Big" Jack Zelig, and Vach "Cyclone Louie" Lewis who competed with and were acknowledged by Italian and Irish gangs. A Jewish underworld already existed in New York at the start of the 20th century, with Jewish mobsters using Yiddish as their language. A pimp was known as a "simcha," a detective as a "shamus" and a loafer as a "trombenik."Jewish-American organized crime arose among slum kids who in pre-puberty stole from pushcarts, who as adolescents extorted money from store owners, who as young adults practiced schlamming (wielding an iron pipe wrapped in newspaper against striking workers or against scabs) – until as adults they joined well organized gangs involved in a wide variety of criminal enterprises boosted by Prohibition.During Prohibition, Jewish gangsters became major operatives in the American underworld and played prominent roles in the distribution of illegal alcohol and the spread of organized crime throughout the United States.
I think that the Jews had a lot of characteristics that played to their advantage in being able to successfully run the mob scene. Jews are often seen as the underdog in society, as the quiet, meek, and harmless citizen. By using this stereotype, Jews were able to orchestrate crime and then pass the blame on to other crime groups such as the Italians.
Additionally, the Jewish community is a tight-knit one. Everyone knows everyone, this is very helpful in the world of gangs. All the matters of the mobsters were able to stay ‘in the family’. Also, no Jew wants to disgrace the name of a fellow Jew. So even if someone disapproved of the actions of the Jewish mob, they would keep quiet. This mentality helped to keep the image of the Jews in American society clean. The Jews were trusted, they were successful business men, and they were the last ones anyone would think to be organizing crime.