A Boy From The Bronx

I surfed to YUTorah.org and put in “Rakeffet” and the first result was for a 2009 talk Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff gave titled, “A Boy From The Bronx.”

“Rabbi Rakeffet discusses the many different spiritual influences he had in his youth.”

From the sound of the audio, I hear the crowd standing up when the rabbi comes to speak. That’s how traditional Jews show respect.

Rabbi: “In Israel we are wealthier in many ways.”

He’s not talking about money, he’s talking about the superiority of Jewish life in the Holy Land, where he lives. The ethnocentric worldview is generally a healthy one. You can’t get a more Jewish life than living in Israel.

Rabbi: “You don’t realize how fortunate you are. You live at a time when the past president of the United States would invite rabbis to the White House and not just serve kosher TV meals but his wonderful wife would have the whole kitchen kashered, a glatt kosher caterer. Today there’s respect for living a Jewish life. When we grew up in the 1940s, it was a desert [for Jews].”

I wonder if today’s multi-cultural America with respect for minority ways is an improvement on a more united America with less respect for minority ways? Was America stronger when it was a 90% white nation with one dominant culture (where WASPs ruled) or is it stronger today when it is hopelessly divided? If Jewish-Americans want to make their Jewish identity more important to them than their American identity, shouldn’t they move to Israel? If blacks want to make their black identity more important to them than their American identity, shouldn’t they move to a majority black nation? Should not America demand that Americans put America first?

This rabbi speaks as though every time non-Jews concede to Jewish ways, that’s a wonderful thing. He doesn’t realize that it may cause a nasty reaction. Non-Jews will eventually tire of conceding to Jews. Do Jews in Israel want the kosher kitchen in the prime minister’s home to be turned trafe to serve goyim leaders bacon and shrimp to celebrate Israel’s commitment to diversity? Most Jews I know would be appalled by that. They don’t want the Jewish state to scrap before goyim. Well, what about America, the goyisha state? If Jews don’t want the Jewish prime minister serving bacon to non-Jewish guests in his home, why would Jews celebrate the non-Jewish president of the United States kashering his kitchens to give Jews a glatt kosher meal?

Throughout history, the rise of one group always creates a backlash. When Jews reach for more and more and more, it creates negative repercussions for Jews down the line. Goyim love their perks every bit as much as Jews do.

Rabbi: “I grew up in the only [Jewish] day school in the Bronx in New York… One day I went to school in 1944 and it not only changed my life, it changed my eternity. It changed my grandchildren. God has privileged me to influence thousands of students.”

“The Allies were organizing their final attack against Germany… We kids in America were caught up in the war. We came to school and that was all we could speak about. We had a rebbe (Mr. Markowitz). We didn’t want to learn. We wanted to talk about France, Germany.

“He says, I was in the army too. Let me tell you a story from WWI. I was a young Russian kid. I was on the front line with my good friend, also a young Russian-Jewish kid…

“My friend scores a direct hit on a German soldier who throws down his gun and with his last strength, yells out, Shema Yisrael [which Jews are supposed to say before they die]. And with that he dies.”

The rabbi’s voice breaks: “His friend lost his mind that a Jew killed another Jew. He committed suicide two days later.

“I heard that story and that story changed my life because I knew I had to go to a country where I could be a Jew, a total Jew, and never have to shoot at another Jew.”

“Years went by. You’re looking at someone who fought in two wars [for Israel as a dual-citizen, the Yom Kippur and Lebanon wars]. My unit reached [a town below Lebanon] and we had the civilian population and we come across 20 Jews who were caught there. They grew up in Lebanon.

“Are these our Lebanese enemy or our Jewish brethren? Within 36 hours, these Jews were in Kfar Chabad with Israeli citizenship.”

As a Jew, I swell with Jewish pride and joy at these stories. As a thinking person able to put himself into the heart of a goy, I have the opposite reaction. If Jews have ultimate loyalty to each other and not to the country of their formal citizenship, why would such a goyisha countries want Jews? If Russian Jews crack up after killing a German Jew in battle between the countries, why would Russia want such Jews? They have less loyalty to Russia than to Jews. They’re a fifth column.

The rabbi is a dual citizen of Israel and America but he chose to fight for Israel. Why would America want dual citizens who fight for other countries? OK, Americans who fought for England, I see little conflict because America and England had such a close genetic, cultural, linguistic and religious bond. OK, Americans who fight for Israel, I’m not sure I see much conflict. But if Americans fight for ISIS or Al Qaeda, I see a big conflict. I don’t want Americans fighting for ISIS. Israel is more similar to America in values than is ISIS.

I can understand why goyisha Americans would not want fellow citizens to fight as ethnic extremists for any tribal war. How is that in America’s interests to have its citizens fighting abroad in tribal wars?

When I imagine myself in the position of the fair-minded American goy listening to this rabbinic lecture, I’m disturbed. As a goy, this kind of talk would increase my suspicion of the loyalty of American Jews to America.

The more closely you identify with your group, the less you care about other groups. This is natural, healthy and good aka it is an evolutionary advantage for your group. This kind of thinking perpetuates a group. It is blinkered thinking but it works in the real world. Who cares about outsiders, let’s take care of our own is a real world strategy that pays handsomely. I expect everybody to live by it.

I am all for people giving total loyalty to their group. I’m all for Jews giving total loyalty to the Jewish group and for whites giving total loyalty to whites and for blacks giving total loyalty to blacks, etc. I just want to be clear about its implications. Right now in America today, it is totally cool for blacks to give total loyalty to black interest and for Mexicans to give total loyalty to Mexican interests and for Jews to give total loyalty to Jewish group interests, but most whites find it distasteful for whites to say out loud they give total loyalty to white interests.

Group interests clash. What’s good for Jews may well be bad for other groups and vice versa. Esau hates Jacob and Jacob hates Esau and Ishamel hates Isaac and Jews hate Arabs and Muslims hate Jews and Christians.

Later in his talk, Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff sounds proud that he stole from the New York Yankees. He’d go to Yankee stadium with another yeshiva student and they’d look for an old Jewish usher who would sneak them in two for the price of one. The rabbi sounds proud of his theft through ethnic solidarity.

I once did something like this. About age 17, I paid for a movie and then when it was done, I tried to sneak into another movie. I got caught. I was so ashamed, I never stole again (though I did cheat at times in school until I was 20). I can’t imagine relating my anecdote of theft with pride. I don’t have that chutzpah. Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff apparently sees nothing wrong with his theft.

After proudly relating his pattern of stealing at Yankee stadium, the rabbi relates how important it is to set a good example. Do you pray carefully? Do you hold your prayer book like it is sacred?

The rabbi does not mention the importance of ethics when he talks about the importance of setting a good example. He talks solely about taking care with Jewish prayer.

I grew up among Seventh-Day Adventists. Almost all of us were white. Many of us stole on occasion. None of us would stand up proudly in public and relate a pattern of theft through ethnic solidarity. It’s inconceivable. It’s not how WASPs behave. I mourn the decline of the WASP. I mourn the decline of honesty.

The WASP part of my heritage rises up in revolt against the rabbi’s cheerful invocation of using ethnic solidarity to steal. This is how a rabbi speaks when recalling in public the most important moments of his life?

Chaim Amalek: “And this is why you are not seen as a ‘member of the tribe’ by torah-true members of the tribe. The question is – why not rejoin the team you were born into, the team of the White Race? With all that you have learned about the Jew and his cunning, there is much that you could teach them. If there are any such people as White Nationalists/Separatists out there, the way to win Luke back is to give him what the Jews have denied him: kesef, kavod, kussit (money, respect, women). Luke cannot be the Messiah you seek, but he can be your John the Baptist who inspires the Messiah you seek.”

In every lecture, the rabbi emphasizes his close kinship ties. He points out people in the audience and how he taught them and their parents and their children. He often talks about himself in third person. “Unity is the most important thing in Torah life,” he says. Ethnic solidarity. Kinship ties. That’s the essence of Judaism. It’s not a religion in the western sense. Rather, it’s a movement of tribal unity.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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