“The sky’s no longer the limit for this New Jersey nonagenarian. In his heart of hearts, 92-year-old Aaron Rosloff would love to jump out of a plane again—never mind the fact that his last skydiving trip ended with a painful accident. But his family and friends at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick, N.J., are ready to do just about anything to thwart his pie-in-the-sky plans. Rosloff, a former World War II Army Air Corps plane mechanic, dove 8,000 feet to the ground celebrate his 90th birthday. He donated the $3,500 he raised through the jump to the South Brunswick Food Pantry. He upped the ante for his 91st birthday by diving 13,500 feet and raising $3,700—but broke his ankle while landing. By the time Rosloff announced that he was planning a repeat performance for his 92nd birthday, his rabbi had heard enough. “He told me, ‘I’ll give you $100 if you jump, but I’ll give you $200 if you don’t jump,’” Rosloff told The Daily News. “And that just took on a life of its own.”
To date, the “Stop Aaron” campaign has raised over $6,700—and the checks keep pouring in. “At first, I thought it was crazy,” the South Brunswick, N.J., man said. “I mean, who’s going to pay money for me not to jump? I guess it’s like that old saying, if you want to know who loves you, break a leg.” After the unexpected response, Rosloff said he’s decided to honor his supporters by putting off skydiving “in the immediate future.” But that doesn’t mean he won’t do it again. “I don’t feel like the risk is that great,” Rosloff said. “I’m more afraid of falling off my six-foot ladder.” As a young mechanic in the Air Corps, Rosloff said he would often ride in planes but never got the chance to jump out. And after he got out of the Army, his wife Milie Rosloff kept his feet firmly planted on the ground. When Milie’s health began to deteriorate, Aaron started getting up at 7 a.m. to exercise. “I thought to myself, if I’m going to be taking care of her, I have to start taking care of myself,” Aaron said.
Milie died eight years ago, but Aaron hasn’t stopped keeping his body active. He works out at least half an hour every day, doing 15 to 20 deep toe bends, 15 jumping jacks, and 40 to 50 military pushups. “I think it’s been an important factor in keeping me well and strong,” he said. Rosloff has kept his mind active by staying involved at Congregation B’nai Tikvah. He’s also on the board of the South Brunswick Community Development Corporation, an organization that helps provide low income senior housing to residents of South Brunswick. So when the opportunity came to jump, Rosloff was ready to take it up immediately. Now, he’s hooked on seeing the world from above. The experience of plummeting through the sky is one that Rosloff says is “unbelievable.” “When you’re on a commercial plane and you look out the window, it’s like riding a local bus,” Rosloff said. “But when you’re skydiving, there’s no coverage around you. You can see the horizon in every direction and you see that the earth is really a ball.” “There’s nothing holding you back except the wind in your ears.” [New York Daily News]
The 92-Year-Old Skydiver from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.