Typically, the men drawn to organized crime grew up in poverty stricken neighborhoods. Such as, Rothstein’s contemporary Jewish mafia compatriots Meyer Lansky (born poor on the Lower East Side) and Dutch Schultz (born poor in the Bronx).
Young Arnold, however, came of age among Manhattan’s elite. Abraham Rothstein, his father, was a hugely successful businessman known for being so fair and honest that New York Governor Al Smith dubbed him “Abe the Just.”
The Rothsteins were also actively religious and charity minded. The family’s eldest son became a rabbi, and Abe the Just served for years as chairman of the board of Beth Israel Hospital.