Jews of Sing Sing
I recently heard from Ron Arons, a fellow alum of the Best Old Place of All and author of The Jews of Sing Sing (Barricade Books, 2008), chronicling Jewish inmates at the famed prison in Ossining, N.Y. Here’s a blurb from Arons’ website:
Years ago Arons learned that one of his ancestors served a ‘stretch’ at the famous prison. Ron first wrote a manuscript about his criminal ancestor and his ancestor’s father, a rabbi who also found trouble, only to be told by the publishing world that “it did not need another memoir.” Thinking creatively out of the box one day, Ron decided to research and write a book about every Jew who was ever behind bars at the Big House. Little did Arons understand the enormity of the topic he would undertake, which until now has not been covered with any intellectual rigor. The result: a 350-page book providing biographies of more than a dozen famous gangsters and lesser-known criminals and painting a broad canvas of Jewish criminality in New York City.
Arons’s website includes a Jewish Inmate Photo Gallery and a searchable database of all Jewish inmates at Sing Sing. More recently, Arons has published WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records Sources & Research Methodology, which lists archives, libraries, courts, and online sites containing prison records, criminal court records, parole records, pardon records, execution information and more, and provides a primer on how to conduct genealogical research on criminals.