B195 - Reichmanns / by Anthony Bianco

By the time of Canary Wharf, Paul Reichmann seemed to have come to belief in his project, if not himself, with the same absolute faith with which he had always believed in God. “The only question that enters our minds is: Will success happen immediately or later?” he had proclaimed at the Canary Wharf groundbreaking.

In secular terms, Reichmann’s flaw was hubris in the classical mode, But for a devoutly religious Jew to assert his certain success was tantamount to blasphemy, since only God could have known the project’s outcome. Indeed, in the view of some of Reichmann’s coreligionists, Canary Wharf per se was ambitious beyond the bounds of Orthodox norms of modesty. “When I saw the size of Canary Wharf, I didn’t believe any person would have the guts to build something like that,” said one Orthodox leader who had been generally admiring of the Reichmann’s. “I don’t believe God wants anyone to be as big as the Reichmann’s were becoming.”