They Jokingly Asked Him If He Was Jewish & Were Shocked By His Answer


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Last month, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kratz, the shamash of 770, and Rabbi Yehuda Pevzner, the director of Mitzvah Tank NYC, parked their tank at a busy street corner in Lower Manhattan for the day, reported.

When an elderly priest approached them, they relaxed from their misson of kiruv for a moment and began joking around with him.

“The truth is that when we asked him if he was Jewish, it was a joke. Why would we ask a priest, dressed in long flowing white robes, with a huge cross dangling across his chest, if he was Jewish?” said Rabbi Kratz.

The priest’s answer was shocking. “Yes, I’m Jewish.”

“What do you mean? Was your mother Jewish?”

He answered: “My parents were both Jews.”

The priest explained that his parents has entrusted him to the church during the Holocaust. He was badly bullied by the other boys and when he complained to his teacher (who himself was a Jewish-born priest!), he told him that as a Jew he’ll always be persecuted…until he becomes a priest. He began studying to be a priest and served in a church in Europe until he moved to New York 15 years ago.

“Why don’t you come to synagogue?” Rabbi Kratz asked the man.

“Is a priest allowed to come?” he asked.

“I work for the Lubavitcher central synagogue in Crown Heights, and I invite you to come.”

“I talked to him about speaking to people about the Holocaust. He demurred, saying that we have to pray that it will never happen again. I encouraged him to speak to the young people about it, thus ensuring that it won’t happen again,” Rabbi Kratz said.

The elderly Jew promised to stay in touch before leaving and said he would try to visit 770. “Make sure to prepare some gefilte fish and kugel for me,” he told them. “Or at least some chopped liver.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I am sick with this story___don’t ask me about gentiles today either, because that was exactly what Hitler was, Europe and even America Canada today…..may they all be

  2. This shows the greatness of the approach of the openly messianic Lubavitchers, who say and write יחי אדוננו מורינו ורבינו וכו’ מלך המשיח לעולם ועד constantly. They arrived on this outing with a mitzvah tank with yechi written on it as above. This made the priest comfortable, to see that they, like him, believed in a dead messiah. If he comes to the 770 house of worship, as invited, he will again see yechi all over. A great way to make him feel at home.

  3. So just so i understand this correctly…this priest who had no connection to his jewish roots other than another priest told him hes jewish asked for kugel gefikte fish and chopped liver?

  4. @Lemayseh and @Realisticguy etc.
    There is so much room for criticism in this article if one really wants to find it. How about we just appreciate the fact that this lost soul has been found and may or may not take the opportunity to do something for Hashem while he still can.
    That’s golden no matter how you slice it.