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!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • 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.