Lenny Dykstra tweets as if he’s Jewish. Is it really him behind his words?
Lenny Dykstra, the retired Mets and Phillies outfielder nicknamed “Nails,” has been tweeting observations about Jewish culture, public figures, and even religion for years. And some of those tweets are pretty inside-baseball — especially considering that Dykstra, 59, was raised Christian.
The posts have flown under the radar — with a few exceptions. CNN anchor Jake Tapper remarked on the curiosity in 2020 after Dykstra replied to him with a quote from that week’s Torah portion. And the tweets came to the fore again this month when Dykstra, a former three-time all-star, tweeted a disparaging comment about Florida Judge Bruce Reinhart’s Conservative synagogue from his verified account after Reinhart was reported to have signed the search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.
“I hope you all weren’t expecting that the synagogue where go-ahead-and-raid-Trump Judge #BruceReinhart is on the board of trustees is one where the congregation keeps kosher, observes the sabbath, etc. You can bet they’re into ‘social justice’ of course!” Dykstra tweeted Aug. 8 to his approximately 87,000 followers, appending a link to the Florida synagogue’s website.
In a subsequent tweet with a photo of Reinhart, Dykstra added: “What a #ChillulHashem” — a Hebrew expression that means desecration of God’s name.
Dykstra has stayed in the public eye since his retirement, thanks to a profane irreverence that makes him catnip for newspaper profiles and because of a few run-ins with the law. But his distinctively bawdy voice in real life — the one that said, for example, “I get more p—y than God” in a promotional video — doesn’t sound like his verified Twitter account, which posts an odd mix of Jewish content and far-right memes. That account has also retweeted a post written entirely in Hebrew, a language Dykstra is not known to speak.
The Reinhart tweets were widely circulated and generally ridiculed. And they once more raise the question of whether Dykstra or someone else is crafting his tweets, many of which reflect homophobic, anti-transgender, anti-vaccine and climate change-denying views. Multiple sources point to the same Orthodox Jewish lawyer.
A few hours after the Forward published an article about Dykstra’s tweet about Reinhart, a tip came in from someone who said he worked as recently as 2019 with an attorney who boasted of operating Dykstra’s account. Another former coworker corroborated the story about the attorney, a man named Adam Taxin.
Did Taxin ghostwrite the Temple Israel tweet?
Reached by email, Taxin said, simply, “No.” He added: “I am not in regular touch with Lenny, sorry.”
He did not respond to subsequent emails or phone calls.
A message from a Forward reporter to Dykstra on Twitter went unanswered.
But others have, in the past, identified Taxin as the author of Dykstra’s tweets. Taxin appeared in a pair of 2018 profiles of Dykstra, when the former ballplayer was attempting to rebuild his reputation after being booked for threatening an Uber driver. Both articles identified Taxin as Dykstra’s Twitter ghostwriter.
In its piece, The New Yorker called Taxin “the ghostwriter of his Twitter account, and the prospective co-host of ‘Nails Nation’” and quotes Dykstra talking about him: “He’s a genius. He’s an Orthodox Jew, though, so he’s in the hole. He got a law degree in, like, five states, and, like, won ‘Jeopardy’ three times. I can’t even answer a question!”
The New York Post quotes Taxin as a Philadelphia-based attorney “who helps ghost-write Dykstra’s Twitter account.” Taxin told the Post Dykstra’s participation in a Chabad rabbi’s Torah class was refreshing: “Most people are on their best behavior around the rabbi,” Taxin said. “Lenny comes at it from a very raw angle.”
Taxin’s LinkedIn profile says he is a lawyer in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania who graduated from Columbia Law School in 2001. The “About” section reads: “Recruiting; courtroom appearances; social media ghostwriting.”
The connection between him and Dykstra was recently underlined. On July 30 Dykstra’s account posted a picture of the two together, wishing Taxin a happy birthday: “Happy birthday also to @Adam_Taxin, who periodically helps with some social media stuff here for #NailsNation.”
— Lenny Dykstra (@LennyDykstra) July 31, 2022
The bio of Taxin’s personal Twitter account, whose last activity came when he liked a tweet Aug. 7, identifies him as “Attorney; Alleged part of #TeamNails.”
More than one person can be logged into the same Twitter account simultaneously, and we may never know definitively who wrote the tweet deriding Reinhart’s Conservative synagogue. But the panache of the account’s banter — jumping into Jake Tapper’s mentions to remind him of that week’s Torah portion, or citing the portion to make fun of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez — conveys a considerable depth of Jewish knowledge.
Dykstra goes to shul
Is it possible that Lenny Dykstra, fondly remembered for his role in the Mets’ 1986 run to the World Series — and imprisoned for bankruptcy fraud in 2012 — has taken up Judaism in his middle age?
Rabbi Shmuel Metzger of Upper Midtown Chabad, who taught the class chronicled in the Post piece, said in an interview that Dykstra came to three classes in 2018 but had not been back since.
“It made a nice story, you know? He’s a friend. He comes around once in a while,” Metzger said. He added: “He gives off this ‘bad boy’ thing, but he’s actually a very sweet guy, a nice guy.”
The rabbi reached out to Dykstra on the Forward’s behalf, and he said Dykstra’s response was, “No, I don’t want to talk to nobody from the press, I’m not interested.”
Metzger said he would follow up to ask Dykstra whether he was the author of his recent tweets, but did not relay any further communications from Dykstra and did not respond to subsequent messages.
The account tweeted a verse from Deuteronomy on Friday with the message “Shabbat Shalom.” Two days later on Twitter, he made a joke about MLB umpires at the expense of Black and transgender women.
On Friday, the Dykstra account retweeted a post written entirely in Hebrew.
And while Dykstra’s account seems like an honest representation of his politics — for example, he posted a “happy birthday” video message to Trump on Instagram earlier this year, and a history of alleged racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments trails him — the account’s far-right activity also largely aligns with Taxin’s public profile.
Taxin’s YouTube account, for example, holds several clips of Rush Limbaugh commentary and pro-Trump content in addition to interviews with Dykstra. Taxin’s Facebook page links to pro-Trump analysis he wrote for Right Side Broadcasting Network, a Trump-supporting media website launched in 2015.
Also notable: Dykstra’s more recent appearances on camera do not reflect the linguistic fluency of his tweets or include the sometimes artful and obscure references to right-wing conspiracy that he has posted to Twitter.
In a July 12 Instagram video, Dykstra stands quietly as a man named Daniel Risis — a pawn shop owner who reportedly met the former outfielder in 2018 — addresses Trump, saying he had his golf clubs. In that and another video he posted with Risis Aug. 10, Dykstra seems to be taking a secondary role to someone exploiting his social media clout.
In the Aug. 10 clip, Risis claims he has crucial information that will clear Trump’s name and free imprisoned Jan. 6 rioters.
“Lenny, can I count on you to understand that what I’m saying is not a joke, and all roads lead through Lenny Dykstra?” Risis says.
“If it’s the best thing for the country, then I’ll do it,” Dykstra replies.
Risis did not respond to a request for comment.