At least eight Jews have been victimized by kids playing the knockout game in Brooklyn over the last two months.
“If Jewish kids started fighting back, they wouldn’t get picked on so much,” said Rabbi Gary Moskowitz. “I’m just trying to encourage the Jewish community to do that.”
Moskowitz, 56, took his fair share of beatings while growing up in the Soundview section of the Bronx in the 1960s. “I wore a yarmulke, and I was a target,” he said. “I was once dragged up six stories to a rooftop by a gang . . . They held me over the ledge.”
At the age of 14, he went to a Jewish Defense League-sponsored summer camp and learned karate. “I came back, and I was able to do 400 push-ups,” he said.
Upon his return, Moskowitz confronted a bully who had beaten him up and peed on his yarmulke. “He threw a punch, and it came at me in slow motion. I . . . brought him down,” he said. “I could have hit him, but I didn’t. I didn’t have to. It was like angels were singing.”
Before becoming an Orthodox rabbi, Moskowitz was a police officer and he earned the nickname of “Rambowitz” because of his ferocity.