By COLlive reporter
Keeping a secret is no easy task. Especially when tens of people are in the know and even more when it’s about a Chabad Shliach who communicates with people all day long.
In Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, it is apparently possible.
The Mayor, his predecessors, members of the city council, employees of the rabbinate, heads of the police department, shluchim, businessmen and residents were all in on the surprise.
When Chief Rabbi Yosef Hecht was convinced last week to visit the Chatzar Hamelech hall, they were all there, greeting him with a “happy birthday” for his 60th.
It was over 30 years ago that the U.S. born rabbi and his family were sent by the Rebbe as Shluchim to the land of Israel.
In 5739 he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Eilat and a member of the Chabad Bais Din in Israel, infusing spirituality in a city that’s known as a popular beach resort.
After the initial surprise, Rabbi Mendy Klein, Director of Chabad of Eilat, invited guests to a full course dinner while public officials who have worked with Hecht were given the microphone.
The Sephardic Chief Rabbi Moshe Hadaya spoke about their working relationship and the Mayor Meir Yitzchak Halevi said they ended a city council meeting early not to miss the party.
Other speakers like former Mayors Gadi Katz and Rafi Hochman and chief of police Moshe Cohen spoke about the rabbi’s early days in the town and his constant advice and counsel.
The event ended with a night long Chassidic Farbrengen by Rabbi Hecht with the local Shluchim and friends.