Matzah Ball Soup for the Chinese Soul
The Jews and their excellentness
The New Yorker reports (subscription-only) on the progress Freudianism has made in China.* And a fantastic Newsweek article (via Atlantic Wire) chronicles the plethora of Chinese books that, seeking to cash in on the widespread Chinese perception that Jews are good at making money (wonder where they got that idea?), cast the Talmud as something of a business Bible. “There’s even a Talmud hotel in Taiwan inspired by ‘the Talmud’s concept of success,’” we learn. “The guides are like the Chinese equivalents of books such as Sun Tzu and the Art of Business.”
The article clarifies several things. Like that this Chinese perception of the Jews is fundamentally different from the anti-Semitic perception of Jews as nefarious (and highly successful) worshippers of Mammon, and in fact has its roots in the history of Chinese business and culture. Also that the Talmud is in fact in no way whatsoever actually a book about how to make money.
But the Chinese really do dig the Jews! According to Google, the fourth-most-asked “why?” question in Mandarin in 2009 was “Why are Jews excellent?”. Which, of course, begs the question: Why are Jews excellent? To the comments with you!
* Almost two years ago, the author of the piece, Evan Osnos, noted China’s bizarre philo-Semitism, including one book, Why Are the Jews Capable of Making Money? Unlocking the World’s Foremost Merchants’ Money-Making Secrets.