Mafia conferences had enough Jews for a minyan, says former gangster

LOUIS Ferrante’s strong New York City accent is immediately evident when he answers the phone.

The vernacular is one which is recognised throughout the English-speaking world — probably thanks to the plethora of Mafia films over the decades.

Indeed, Louis himself headed a professional heist crew within the infamous Gambino crime family.

And during his time with the mob, the Italian-American committed some of the most lucrative robberies in American history.

But he put an end to his criminal ways after serving almost nine years in prison when he converted to Judaism.

Today, he is Shabbat-observant, prays daily and keeps kosher.

And Louis recognises the similarities that Jewish Americans and Italian Americans share — sometimes almost to the point of being indistinguishable.

It is one of the reasons that his new book Borgata: Rise of Empire (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25), which was published yesterday, contains the tales of well known Jewish gangsters such as Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein and Bugsy Siegel.

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