|Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff|
Compliments of the OU Production Dept
|Position||Lecturer, Jewish History and Halacha|
|Birth name||Arnold Rothkoff|
New York City
|Alma mater||Yeshiva University|
|Semicha||YU, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Lessin|
Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff (born December 2, 1937) is Professor of Rabbinic Literature at Yeshiva University's Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. He is a noted scholar, author and teacher who has taught thousands of students throughout his over 55+ years of teaching. He spent four years studying under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and remained very close to him afterwards.
Rabbi Rakeffet started his career in 1961 as a pulpit rabbi at Lower Merion Synagogue in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. In 1962, he moved from Lower Merion to become spiritual leader of the first Orthodox synagogue in suburban Essex County, Congregation Beth Ephraim of Maplewood and South Orange, New Jersey. During that time, he also served as a high school rebbe at Yeshiva University High School for Boys. In 1969, he moved to Israel and worked as a Staff Editor for the Encyclopaedia Judaica. He also wrote numerous entries, including the one for Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik and Rabbi Eliezer Silver.
Upon the conclusion of the Encyclopaedia Judaica project, Rabbi Rakeffet pursued his love of teaching. He was a pioneer in Torah education for diaspora students in Israel. He was a member of the initial 1969 faculty of Jerusalem Torah College (BMT) and taught there for twenty years. He also taught at Machon Gold and Michlalah. He was also a founding faculty member at Midreshet Moriah, an advanced Torah study program for women.
Rabbi Rakeffet has been a member of the Gruss Kollel faculty since its inception in 1976. He also recruited Dr. Nechama Leibowitz to teach there as well.
In 1980, he was recruited by Aryeh Kroll to join the Mossad's clandestine Nativ operation to teach Torah in the Soviet Union. Rabbi Rakeffet visited the Soviet Union in 1981, 1985, and 1989 together with his wife Malkah, and recruited 200 others to also visit. His initial visit motivated him to help found the Shvut Ami organization.
Rabbi Rakeffet felt strongly that a documentary should be made about Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. After much effort, he found Ethan Isenberg to produce the film, and a donor to subsidize it. The documentary "The Lonely Man of Faith: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik" was first shown in November 2006.
Rabbi Rakeffet finished his 10-year effort of writing his personal scholarly memoir, "From Washington Avenue to Washington Street", with its publication in 2011. Published by the OU Press in conjunction with Gefen Publishing House. It was his seventh published volume. One critic hailed the memoirs: "Although serious to the core, his wonderful sense of humor shines in this inspiring life story of a true intellectual who continues to devote his talents to the Jewish people and the State of Israel."
In June 2016, Rakafot Aharon Vol 3 was published by Shvut Ami. Rabbi Dr. Yaakov S. Weinstein of East Brunswick, NJ compiled and annotated it based on contemporary Halachic topics presented by Rabbi Rakeffet between 1998 - 2002 in his advanced shiurim given at YU’s Gruss Kollel. The topics include: The classic Agunah, Mamzerut and Artificial Insemination.
- Spiritual leader of Lower Merion Synagogue in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania (1961–1962)
- Seven years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ephraim and Maplewood Jewish Center in New Jersey (1962–1969)
- High School Rebbe at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (1962–1969)
- Staff Editor for Encyclopaedia Judaica (1969–1971)
- Jerusalem Torah College (BMT) (1969–1989)
- Machon Gold (1971–1989)
- Michlalah (The Jerusalem College for Women) (1971–1986)
- Midreshet Moriah (1987–2002)
- Gruss Kollel (1976 - )
- Bernard Revel: Builder of American Jewish Orthodoxy (1971)
- The Silver Era: Rabbi Eliezer Silver and His Generation (1982)
- Rakafot Aharon (1997) - 2 volumes, collected published writing, Published by Shvut Ami
- Rakafot Aharon Vol 3 (2016) - Based on advanced shiurim given at YU’s Gruss Kollel. Published by Shvut Ami
- The Rav - The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1999) - 2 volumes, KTAV Publishing House, Inc. ISBN 0-88125-614-5 (vol 1) and ISBN 0-88125-615-3 (vol 2)
- From Washington Avenue to Washington Street (2011), Gefen Publishing House and OU Press. ISBN 978-965-229-565-1
- Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought: Rakeffet-Rothkoff entries
- The Commentator: The Torah and Rabbinics of the Early YC Years
- Jewish Action: Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought
- Online archive of articles and talks at YUTorah.org
- Hesped for Joe DiMaggio #1
- Hesped for Joe DiMaggio #2
- Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Aaron (2011). From Washington Avenue to Washington Street. Gefen Publishing House. p. 3. ISBN 978-965-229-565-1.
- "From Lakewood To Yeshiva University: An Interview With Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff". Jewish Press. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Lecture by Rabbi_Aaron_Rakeffet-Rothkoff 2009-11-16_JH_07, Minute 90". YUTorah.org. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- "History of the Lower Merion Synagogue, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania: The Early Years 1954 - 1981, by Rabbi Abraham A. Levene" (PDF). Lower Merion Synagogue. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 1, p.24
- Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 15, pp.133–134. [A.Ro] at the end of the article represents Aaron Rothkoff, as listed in Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 1, p.41.
- Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 14, pp.1544-1545.
- Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff. The Rav The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. 1. KTAV Publishing House. p. 297.
- Per interview with Rabbi Rakeffet by Noah Cheses, December 2009.
- Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Aaron (2011). From Washington Avenue to Washington Street. Gefen Publishing House. p. 301. ISBN 978-965-229-565-1.
- "YUTorah: Teaching Torah in Russia by Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff". Yeshiva University. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "The Making of "The Lonely Man of Faith" by Binyamin Ehrenkranz in the Commentator". Yeshiva University. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "The Art of the Rav: A Documentary by Chana Wiznitzer in the Commentator". Yeshiva University. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "Responsa 23, The Printers Rule the Rabbis, Minutes 0 - 2". YUTorah.org. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
- "OU Press web site". Retrieved 2011-06-17.
- "Living History". Jerusalem Post. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-04-25.