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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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The Killer of Kennedy’s Killer was Jewish

The man born Jacob Leon Rubenstein allegedly told his rabbi the day after shooting Lee Harvey Oswald that he did it to "show that Jewish had guts."

The iconic moment when Jack Ruby - whose birth name was Jacob Leon Rubenstein - shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

The iconic moment when Jack Ruby - whose birth name was Jacob Leon Rubenstein - shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

Most Americans know that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and most of those people know that Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald before Oswald could be tried for the murder.

But did you know that Jack Ruby was Jewish?

Ruby, born Jacob Leon Rubenstein, was born in Chicago to Joseph and Fannie Rubenstein. Ruby’s parents led troubled lives.  The father was abusive, the mother suffered from mental illness. The couple had eight children together although they split up by the time Jack was ten.  Three of the children, including Ruby, became wards of Chicago’s Jewish Home Finding Society.

When the family was intact, the family kept kosher and attended synagogue, and the children were sent to Hebrew school, according to CBS news journalist Steve North who wrote the over the top, article, “My History With Lee Harvey Oswald’s Jewish Killer.”

Like so many children of Jewish immigrants of his generation, it appears Ruby drifted away from his religion as he journeyed through life, although he did belong to a synagogue, and went to services daily during the prescribed 11 months following the death of his father.

Anecdotes abound of Ruby being quick to use his fists against anti-Semitic taunts, including when he was in the military.

There are unconfirmed reports that the day after the shooting Ruby was asked by his rabbi why he had done it. Ruby allegedly answered, “to show that Jews had guts.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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18 Responses to “The Killer of Kennedy’s Killer was Jewish”

  1. Dan Silagi says:

    How is this news? Everyone knows Jack Ruby was Jewish. Does that make him some kind of a hero?

  2. Justin M. L. Stern says:

    When networks air documentaries about Kennedy this week, that isn't news either, it's just video filled with information about an event that we remember this week. Same goes for this.

  3. The other article I read today about Ruby quotes him as saying his motive was to spare Jackie Kennedy having to endure Oswald going in trial.

  4. Justin M. L. Stern says:

    Nobody is saying that he is a hero for what he did. The author is an accomplished lawyer who is well-versed in the Constitution; she o fall people knows the right of every individual to a fair trial. This is, however the Jewish Press, and her job is to report on all things Jewish that relate to current topics of interest. As such, she pointed out that one of the key players in the assassination fallout/conspiracy-fueling indent was Jewish.

  5. I thought he was connected with the mob?

  6. Dan Silagi says:

    Vicki Raskin Sipkin I will believe to my dying day that Ruby killed Oswald to shut him up, and that Oswald didn't act alone. Ruby came from Chicago, where he did some jobs for Sam Gianciana, the capo di tutti capi back in the 1960's and 1970.s. My father was a lawyer who represented several Teamsters locals; he told me shortly before he died in 2004 that Jimmy Hoffa, along with Gianciana and Carlos Marcello, were responsible for both Kennedy assassinations, and that both Gianciana and Hoffa were murdered so they wouldn't talk. (That's actually a rather common Kennedy assassination theory.) While president, Kennedy was "dating" Judith Exner, who was Gianciana's goumada. Not a smart thing to do.

  7. Other stories was Jack Ruby was connected to FBI…

  8. how common with hindus that 11 months are the time taken by soul to reach his judge which by idiocy we sikhs follow to do our rememberance after death after eleventh month had passed.

  9. Bill Bobbin says:

    did not mean to Report akaidev's comment. the link is confusing. His comment is fine.

    I wanted to reply and say that the 2 religions are not that different. A lot is shared between the 2 religions. good example is the 11 month grieving period.

  10. Organized crime leaders were betrayed by Kennedy. What do you think they do in a case like that? Yeah they need to shut up the trigger man. Ruby didn’t live lone after that either. His remains should be tested for cancer causing chemicals.

  11. And he spoke fluent Yiddish to his family and none of the FBI agents knew what he was saying to them

  12. Oswald was 50 years too soon.

  13. Despite Patrick Kennedy was an antisemitic scumbag, a Nazi (I recommend you to read "IBM and the Holocaust") and a criminal responsible for the death of hundreds of Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust, both of his sons, Robert and John, were truly friends of Israel and the Jewish people, as well as supporters of democratic allied nations fighting N@zism during WWII. In fact, Robert was killed by a Palestinian because he sold fighter jets to Israel. Regarding JFK, he gave Israel political support, money and weapons (including the first MIM-23 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles). This is what JFK said shortly before assuming presidency:

    "Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom."

    Because of his sins against Jews, Patrick's sons were cursed by a London rabbi (in Judaism the divine punishment are passed to the children and even the entire family). But two of our best friends were killed in the process. It's very sad. Bobby also made a wonderful coverage about Israeli Independence War:

    http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Robert-Kennedys-1948-Reports-from-the-Holy-Land.html

    JFK and RFK, God bless their memory

  14. I read this article at the JTA website where it was originally published. Why do you consider the article to be over the top?

  15. Why the truncated surname hiding the pride?

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