Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, ZL

Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht was born in Brooklyn in 1922. He came from a long line of Lubavitch Hassidic roots. He received his Torah education from various prominent yeshivot in the United States and spent some time learning in Europe. However, due to the outbreak of World War II he was forced to return home prematurely.

As a young rabbi, Rabbi Hecht was a rabbi of a small community in Massachusetts in the early 1940's. During one summer in 1945 while vacationing in the catskills with some of his community members, Rabbi Hecht was invited to speak one saturday afternoon by members of the Sephardic Syrian community who were vacationing there as well. The community members were very impressed with his fine english and oratory skills as well as his diverse knowledge of Torah. This one time derasha became a weekly derasha throughout the entire summer and attracted more and more people each week. By the end of the summer, he was offered a position as the rabbi of the youth program in Magen David of Bensonhurst and in the Talmud Torah. He graciously accepted and began his life long career as a rabbi in our community.

In the mid 1950's, Rabbi Hecht moved with the community to the Ocean Parkway area in Brooklyn and within a couple of years was promoted to become the official rabbi of the newly built Shaare Zion. He was the rabbi of the synagogue until his retirement in 1995. Nevertheless, until the end of his life, Rabbi Hecht remained affiliated and kept close ties with Shaare Zion and the entire community.

Rabbi Hecht was known for delivering fine speeches and covering a wide range of topics from Torah to modern day current events. His lectures were renown and were held in very high esteem. In addition, the rabbi officiated at literally thousands of weddings, brit milahs, bar mitzvahs and other semahot throughout his fifty plus years as a rabbi in the community. He always represented the community with dignity and class. He was respected and loved by all.

In addition to his community responsibilities, Rabbi Hecht had a large global appeal and reach. He was the president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, an organization that worked tirelessly for the welfare of Orthodox Jews in America. Rabbi Hecht was one of the first rabbis to speak in front of the US Congress as he did this numerous times throughout his life and career. His goal was always to benefit the safety, freedom and strength of our community and the Jewish world at large. He was largely responsible for the release of Syrian Jews in the 1990s from Syria. Thousands of Jews are living in our community today thanks to Rabbi Hechts tireless effort. Furthermore, throughout his tenure, various political officials and world leaders came to Shaare Zion and were always received and introduced warmly by Rabbi Hecht. It was to his credit that our community was "put on the map" and held in high esteem on the political scene.

Later in his life, Rabbi Hecht published three books, one of which is his autobiography detailing his many political accomplishments and interactions on the global scene. In January of 2013, Rabbi Hecht passed away at the age of 90. His funeral was held in Borough Park as well as in Shaare Zion. After the week of shiva was completed, a memorial service was held in the dome of Shaare Zion in his honor. Rabbi Hecht will always be remembered for his love, devotion and service to our community for over half of a century.

 

 

Tue, June 27 2017 3 Tammuz 5777