The following opinion editorial was brought to us from the New York Times’ David Brooks
Jews are a famously accomplished group. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates and 31 percent of the medicine laureates.
Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction.
In his book, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement,Â Steven L. Pease lists some of the explanations people have given for this record of achievement. The Jewish faith encourages a belief in progress and personal accountability. It is learning-based, not rite-based.
Occasionally, a very simple graphic makes a profound point.
That happened last Sunday when the New York Times Sunday Magazine published the following graphic and story correlating religion, education, and income. The chart illustrates the fundamental importance Reform and Conservative Jews place on education (58 to 65 percent of them have college degrees – versus 27 percent of the American population). That disparity has a dramatic impact on family income. Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jews have family incomes of more than $75,000 per year versus only 31 percent of American families. Cultures that treasure education will produce kids with significantly greater job skills – and that will qualify them for substantially higher paying jobs. As ever more of our mid-level jobs are lost to productivity gains, college and post graduate degrees are becoming ever more critical to the future of our kids.
A few years ago, Sherwin B. Nuland Â published an insightful and intriguing article in the The New Republicentitled “My Son, The Doctor”, discussing the topic of Jews and medicine from a unique historical perspective. We feel Mr. Nuland makes a compelling case for culture as a driver of Jewish involvement in medicine, including referring to the biblical link between physical and moral purity while emphasizing that maintenance of health is maintenance of life. We wish to share this distinct perspective with you today.
‘though the medieval Muslims called both Jews and Christians the people of the book, Jews are in effect the people of the body as well.’ – Sherwin B. Nuland
Why is it, in fact, that so many Jews have become doctors? Here follows a twice-told tale that bears telling once again.
Imprisoned in a tower in Madrid, disabled by syphilis and further weakened by an abscess in his scalp, the French king Francis I asked of his captor, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, that he send his finest Jewish physician to attempt a cure. At some point after the doctor arrived, Francis, in an attempt at light conversation, asked him if he was not yet tired of waiting for the messiah to come. To his chagrin, he was told that his healer was not actually Jewish, but a converso who had long been a baptized Christian. Francis dismissed him, and arranged to be treated by a genuine Jew, brought all the way from Constantinople.
Jewish Life Television recently featured an interview with the “Golden Age of Jewish Achievement” author Steven Ã‚Â L. Pease on his continued interest in Jewish achievement and indeed evaluating why Jews are disproportionately successful both historically and in contemporary society. Featured below is part one of JLTV’s series on the Golden Age of Jewish Achievement.
‘The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement‘ author Steven L. Pease recently spoke on America’s Work Force Radio (AWF Radio )about the magnitude of what has been achieved by the Jewish community and why. The lessons he believes all of us can learn about the dynamics behind high achievement are explained in the audio clip below:
Though the Jewish people only represent 2 percent of the world’s population, they comprise 36 percent of the world’s Nobel Prize recipients in economics, 51 percent of Pulitzer Prizes for non-fiction, 21 percent of Ivy League university enrollment and 37 percent of Academy Award-winning directors. Steven L. Pease, raised a Presbyterian, asks why Jews are disproportionately high achievers and attempts to answer these questions through hundreds of fascinating case studies, ultimately making the case for the important role Jewish culture has played in this high-achieving result. As seen on the San Francisco Chronicle Event Calendar, Pease will discuss what drew him to investigate this topic, as well as the signifÃ¯Âcance of the Jewish emphasis on literacy and education in creating this legacy of achievement.
Location: SF Club OfficeÂ Time: 5:30 networking reception, 6:00 program, 7 p.m. book signing
Cost: $12 members, $20 non-members, $7 students (with a valid ID)
Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, ours, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, and several recent columns by David Brooks speak to the notion that culture matters.Â All three authors also support the notion that cultures can change – sometimes very quickly.
Gladwell writes of the cabin crews at Korean Airlines that dramatically improved airline safety after David Greenberg was brought in from Delta Airlines to change the cockpit culture. The Golden Age describes how Jewish culture was permanently altered when the Diaspora caused rabbinical Judaism to make literacy mandatory for all Jews.
David Brooks’ May 7, 2010 New York Times column (below) speaks to how quickly the culture of the U.S. Army has changed – in part because of the work of General David Petraeus.
The following article was brought to us from the New York Times’ acclaimed political and cultural commentator, Jewish-American David Brooks, an insightful read we wish to share.
Roughly a century ago, many Swedes immigrated to America. They’ve done very well here. Only about 6.7 percent of Swedish-Americans live in poverty. Also a century ago, many Swedes decided to remain in Sweden. They’ve done well there, too. When two economists calculated Swedish poverty rates according to the American standard, they found that 6.7 percent of the Swedes in Sweden were living in poverty.
In other words, you had two groups with similar historical backgrounds living in entirely different political systems, and the poverty outcomes were the same.
A similar pattern applies to health care. In 1950, Swedes lived an average of 2.6 years longer than Americans. Over the next half-century, Sweden and the U.S. diverged politically. Sweden built a large welfare state with a national health service, while the U.S. did not. The result? There was basically no change in the life expectancy gap. Swedes now live 2.7 years longer.
On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The resolutions passed unanimously. Most recently, President Barack Obama issued aÂ proclamation on May, 12, 2009 in which he stated that “The United States would not be the country we know without the achievements of Jewish Americans.”Â
TheÂ JAHM Coalition was formed in March 2007 and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). The JAHM Coalition is composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, Jewish Women’s Archive, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Washington. Rep. Wasserman Schultz made a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives to recognize the contributions Jewish people have made to American History.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Rep. Wasserman Shultz only on JewishAchievementBlog.com!