R’ Hirschel Pekkar, a renowned Crown Heights silversmith who created the famous Menorah which stands each Chanukah in 770 Eastern Parkway, passed away on Thursday, 27 Av, 5781.
He was 85.
R’ Hirschel was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1936, and after World War Two – during which his father, a soldier in the Russian army, was killed – he escaped along with his mother to Germany. They stayed for a time at a displaced persons’ camp near Bergen-Belsen and at age ten he was sent to live with a relative in England and attended the Gateshead and Manchester yeshivahs there.
He became a jeweler, eventually settling in London. “Although I was leading the life of a religious Jew, I felt something was missing in my life,” he told JEM’s My Encounter. When he was 18 years old, he began to study Torah with a Chabad rabbi named Yankel Gurkov who introduced him to chasidic teachings and told him about the Rebbe.
He described his first Yechidus with the Rebbe in 1962, when he came to New York along with a group of Jews from England as part of a trip organized by Mr. Zalmon Jaffe.
During that audience, he discussed the issue of his livelihood with the Rebbe. The Rebbe encouraged him to take the time to improve his skills as a jeweler.
R’ Hirschel created the large Menorah which stands in 770 in 1982 to the Rebbe’s specifications according to the Rambam. In later years he created another replica which was lit in Jerusalem.
He is survived by his wife, Tzivia and children, Chana Hurwitz – Crown Heights, Devorah Shagalov – Florida, Moshe – Florida and Yossi – Mexico.
The levaya will take place tomorrow, Friday, passing by 770 Eastern Parkway at 2:45 PM and burial at Montefiore Cemetery at 3:45 PM.
Shiva will be at 781 eastern Pkwy 2B.
10am-1pm and 3pm-9:30pm
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes.