By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Avraham B. Hecht, a Lubavitcher chossid who was one of the most prominent rabbis in North America in the last century, has passed away on Motzoei Shabbos, 24 Teves 5773.
He was 90.
His passing occurred at almost the same time to the hour of the passing of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, 200 years ago in Ukraine.
Rabbi Hecht was born in Brownsville, NY, as a second generation American. He traveled to Poland in September 1939 to study in the Yeshivah of Otvosk under the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn.
But as army tanks started rolling across Poland, just a few days after his arrival, he managed to leave the continent which shortly thereafter became the battlefield for the Second World War and the Holocaust.
Back in New York, he had the distinction of being of the first 10 students of Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in America. It is there that he developed his commitment for Judaism and care for the Jewish people.
He went on to serve as a Shliach in Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Newark, NJ; and New Haven, CT; establishing Yeshiva Achei T’mimim elementary schools for both boys and girls.
It was no surprise, then, that he was appointed as the Rabbi of Congregation Shaare Zion on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, the largest Sephardic shul in North America, comprising more than 3500 families. He served there for more than 50 years.
Known as a “rabbi’s rabbi” and a scholar of Torah, he also served as President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabanim, the national rabbinic organization founded in 1942 with 800 members.
He has written two books entitled, “Spiritual Horizons” and “Spiritual Freedom” and frequently wrote in various Jewish publications in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.
Among the topics he wrote and advocated for were Mihu Yehudi – Giyur K’halacha Who is a Jew, Shleimus Haaretz, Family Values – Taharas Hamishpacha and the Seven Noahide Laws
His wife Liba (nee Greenhut) passed away 9 years ago on 21 Teves.
He is survived by his children Mrs. Nechama Kantor – Crown Heights; Mrs. Esther Kaplan – Crown Heights; Rabbi Eli Hecht – Lomita, CA; Rabbi Yossi Hecht – Nice, France; Mrs. Rochel Weinberg – Detroit, MI; Mrs. Shani Fasten – 5 Towns, NY; Rabbi Shea Hecht – Norwalk, CT; Rabbi Ari Hecht – S. Francisco, CA; and Rabbi Yisroel Hecht – Los Angeles, CA.
His oldest grandson is Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, Head Shliach of Thailand, and many of his grandchildren are spread all over the world, including Canada, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Switzerland.
The funeral will take place Sunday at 11:30 from Shomrei Hadas chapels in Boro Park. The procession will be passing Congregation Shaarei Tzion (Ocean Parkway between T and U) and at approximately 1:30pm will be passing 770 Eastern Parkway.
The family of Rabbi Avrohom Hecht is sitting Shiva at 866 Eastern Parkway, Apt 3E.
Shachris: 2 minyanim at 7:15 and 3 minyanim at 8:30
Mincha Mariv bezmano.
Please no visitors from 2:00 till 4:00 pm and after 9:30 pm.
If anyone has stories of Rabbi Hecht please email [email protected]
Baruch Dayan Haemes