The 92-Year-Old Jewish Skydiver

Aaron Rosloff Jumps for Charity — Shul Pays To Ground Him

Sky’s the Limit: Aaron Rosloff dove from 8,000 feet in 2011.
Freefall Adventures, Inc.
Sky’s the Limit: Aaron Rosloff dove from 8,000 feet in 2011.

By Jordan Teicher

Published July 17, 2013, issue of July 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Tikkun olam, to heal the world” Rosloff said. “Care for the widow, the orphan, the elderly, the poor and the stranger in your midst. That’s what I try to do.”

Rosloff is a widower himself, and any retelling of his life would be incomplete without mention of his late wife, Milie Rosloff. They were together for 62 years, had three children and seemed to share an appreciation for grassroots organizational skills. Rosloff told of how his wife, who worked as a paraprofessional, found out that her colleagues were getting paid less than New Jersey’s minimum wage. She campaigned to the board of education, eventually securing higher wages and full benefits.

It was his wife who originally prevented Rosloff from skydiving. He had served as a crew chief in the Army Air Corps during WWII, always interested in jumping. “She told me, ‘You can go, but I won’t be here even if you get back,” Rosloff said with a smirk.

Milie Rosloff suffered from a degenerative brain disease for the past five years of their marriage. It was “complete hell to see her deteriorate,” Rosloff said. She passed away in 2005. “It’s rare for people to be together that long. I still miss her every day.”

Six years later, Rosloff felt like the time was right to take the plunge. In 2011, at age 90, he leaped from 8,000 feet on an overcast day without any apprehension. The next year, when he broke his ankle, Rosloff took off from 13,500 feet.

“I still loved the experience,” he recalled with a smile. “You get to see the world as a ball from up above.”

Since retiring from his insurance and real estate firm in the early 1980s, Rosloff helped establish B’nai Tikvah in 1983, served as a founding board member of the low-income Oak Woods Senior Residence and now writes a regular column for Hakol, B’nai Tikvah’s monthly newsletter.

Rosloff’s columns are a way for the congregation to get to know the man behind the fundraising. For example, in the June column, Rosloff revealed how holding the Torah soon after his mother’s death, in 1959, sparked a visceral reaction to Judaism that has stayed with him. “I felt a physical and emotional relationship to the Torah,” he writes, “as though I was holding my mother in my arms.” He told me that before his mother passed away, he attended synagogue occasionally, but never considered himself religious.

Wolkoff said that Rosloff is from the greatest generation: “Risking everything for a noble cause, that’s just what they do.”

Wolkoff joked that the old adage is wrong. “In this case, you can keep a man down,” he said. For a good cause, at least.

Jordan Teicher lives in New York City. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Slate and Vice.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.