United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care
Monday, Tu B’Av (July 22), marked the 23rd yahrzeit of late Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, a world-renowned communal rabbi and chinuch activist who inspired many with his books and talks. Rabbi Hecht had a unique relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and carried out many important missions and projects at his directive. During his lifetime, he established numerous schools and organizations, with the main goal being to educate the younger generation about their Jewish heritage and to imbue them with Jewish pride.
One of the organizations he headed for nearly 50 years was the Jewish Released Time program under NCFJE – National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education – where Rabbi Hecht served as executive vice president. The program – still active today – reaches out to young Jewish children in the Greater New York Area, exposing them to weekly sessions of Jewish learning in a fun and interactive setting. Although the hours are short, the impact can be potentially long-lasting. As former student Moshe Rafailov, now 22 years old, said, “The whole idea of me becoming religious, and the motivation to do so, was imbued in me at the Released Time hour.”
Moshe explained: “I come from a traditional Jewish Bucharian family. We had Shabbat dinners, made Passover seders, and would celebrate many of the other Jewish holidays, but other than that, there wasn’t really much to it. I barely knew what it meant to be a Jew and did not belong to a community, so I did not really connect to it in any way.
“One day, a young woman who happened to be a counselor in my school in Kew Gardens Hills brought up the idea to my parents to enroll me into the Released Time Program…and as the old saying goes: the rest was history.
When asked what inspired him most, he answered: “It was definitely the songs that were incorporated throughout the program, in the prayers, games, and holiday functions. Judaism went from being just a bunch of laws and restrictions to a livable and dynamic experience, and sometimes, even fun.”
Another child deeply affected by his experience at Released Time is Shlomo Goldman. Shlomo is from an all-American family, and grew up in Marine Park, Brooklyn. His parents were non-observant Jews, who were happily content with their religious standards (or lack thereof). One day, as he was leaving public school, Shlomo saw his mother in the school parking lot with a flyer in her hands about Released Time, which commenced the last hour of school every Wednesday. “An hour off of school?” Shlomo thought, “I’m in!”
In turned out, though, that Shlomo was the only one in his area who attended the program and therefore was treated to one-on-one sessions by an energetic young instructor. Shlomo loved the riddles, the contests, and the fun which met him every Wednesday, and loved how “Judaism just became alive.”
One thing led to another, and eventually a Chabad shliach giving Shlomo bar mitzvah lessons in Pennsylvania – where his family later moved – led him to start becoming fully observant.
As a child, Shlomo had entertained dreams of playing professional baseball. Today, he is a teacher and instructor at Released Time and hopes to become a Chabad shliach one day. “I want to be a shliach of the Rebbe, igniting the spiritual spark in every Jew I’ll meet, just as was done for me,” he said.
Over 1,000 Jewish public school children are currently enrolled in Released Time in 75 citywide centers. They are taught by over 200 dedicated instructors. The legacy of Rabbi Hecht is alive and well.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Israeli workers making a flags of Israel at the Berman’s Flags and Embroidery factory in Jerusalem on April 19, 2015, prior to the Israel 67th Independence day.
Obama figures he can deal with Iran by letting it humiliate him.
Once again a Palestinian Arab journalist sought money for the PA during a State Dept. press briefing
ISIS brutally murders African Christians, blaming Christians for Muslim murders throughout the world.
The “Palestinians” have a long history of targeting Israeli athletes.
The West grants the right to vote. Islamists want to take it away. Will they tell US Muslims not to vote?
An Israeli TV news reporter describes her experience with European anti-Semitism on the job and how it affected her.
PM Netanyahu warns that world powers are ignoring Iran’s increased aggression in the Middle East.
Childhood cancer rates in Haifa are much higher than in the rest of Israel, air pollution is blamed.
U.S. officials in the Middle East are on high alert after a Consulate was targeted in Iraqi Kurdistan by ISIS.
It is going to be a very windy Independence Day. Snow will fall on the upper slopes of the Hermon.
Newly-trained pilots at Turkish Airlines are being urged to marry in order to avoid tragedies in the air.
Bayit Yehudi wants the Religious Affairs Ministry, Yisrael Beytenu wants the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and both feel Netanyahu is trying to short-change them. It’s a match made in heaven.
The lives of Gaza residents under Hamas go from miserable to even more miserable.
Monday, Tu B’Av (July 22), marked the 23rd yahrzeit of late Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, a world-renowned communal rabbi and chinuch activist who inspired many with his books and talks. Rabbi Hecht had a unique relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and carried out many important missions and projects at his directive.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obituaries/the-legacy-of-rabbi-jacob-j-hecht/2013/08/05/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: