Too Smart For The Irish

Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff says: “I was in public school for one year. I was a wild kid. The teacher told my mother, “Your son is too bright for the Irish kids, the Italian kids. Send him to a [Jewish] day school.”

“If you have any sexual problems, don’t go into the rabbinate. Become an accountant. Work with numbers, not with human beings.”

New lecture:

* “Why do we have so many scandals?”

* “Since the day Moses Mendelsohn left the ghetto, we’ve struggled with the problem — how can we live as Jews in the big world and raise 98%, 99% of our children in our footsteps?”

“I grew up in an Irish/Italian/Jewish neighborhood. A third/a third/a third in the old Bronx. We had good relationships with the Irish until they got drunk. With the Italians, we had good relationships all the time. They had very good values like Jews as far as family, drinking, etc, but their Sunday was unbelievable. My next door neighbor went to church, he’s home within an hour, and he stretches out in front of the TV to watch football. There’s no concept of the Shabbat.”

* “You are not allowed to live in the United States today. If you have to live outside of Israel to make a living, the only country you would be allowed to live in is Putin’s Russia. Putin still believes in the Seven Noahide Laws. He’s against same-sex marriages. Give him credit. You’re living in America? How can a Jew live in a country that tramples the basic commandments of human existence [accepts same-sex marriage]?”

“In New York City, I could be arrested for speaking out against same-sex marriage.”

“What is western civilization? Man worships himself.”

* “Rabbis should be enjoined from counseling women one on one.”

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein went through Shas (Talmud) from 14-16 and never went through it again.”

* “I went to the Agudah convention and the shluchim (Chabad) convention and it was like a funeral and a wedding. For Agudah, it was no good, no good, no good…”

New lecture:

* “We want one people, not two people. If you go on living differently, ultimately it becomes two different Torot.”

New lecture:

* Reb Moshe Feinstein read the New York Times every day. Rabbi JB Solveitchik watched westerns on TV. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein loved to play Scrabble. The Rebbe said his daily tea with his wife was as important to him as putting on tefillin.

* “Messianism is a problem… Chabad had its problems. YU doesn’t have problems? We gave birth to Chovevei Torah. A letter from my student, the whole attitude towards homosexuals… 200 people signed that letter. I’ve been teaching Torah 56 years. You don’t think I had problems with kids with so-called homosexual tendencies. We got them help. I can think of four case. Three and half cases were totally solved. They’re grandparents now… Lakewood doesn’t have problems? Who would dream that graduates of Lakewood will probably die in jail. Bnai Brak just had a ponzi scheme. Hundreds of millions of dollars lost. Frum people.”

About Luke Ford

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