Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
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.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is nothing more than a PR man [and] the real ruler of Iran is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is aptly called the Supreme Leader,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a news conference in Eilat on Monday. The IDF invited media to see the weapons on a cargo ship that […]
The cyber hackers are crawling out of the woodwork for “Hacktivists month” in April.
Leo Bretholz, who had escaped from a train transporting him to a Nazi death camp, died the weekend before he was to testify on behalf of a Maryland bill making railroad firms accountable for their actions during the Holocaust. Bretholz, of Baltimore, died on Saturday, two days after his 93rd birthday. He was to testify […]
The IDF opened fire on the terrorist as he was throwing a stone at a moving vehicle.
A plan to stop tax evasion also threatens to break all limits of confidentiality of Americans in Israel.
The Arab League refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in the framework of current peace talks with the Palestinians, as per Israel’s demand. On Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers released a resolution at a meeting in Cairo that supported the decision by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “The council of the Arab League […]
Sexist and often violent, corrupt and even anti-Zionist Haredim in Beit Shemesh create a false image of the city.
IDF releases photos of the weapons captured from the Iranian smuggling ship, Klos-C
Syrian rebels have killed approximately 500 Hezbollah soldiers, including at least 15 in the past 10 days, according to sources quoted by the Beirut Daily Star. Social media and websites have depicted photos of the dead Hezbollah members, complete with praise for their “martyrdom” for carrying out their “jihadist duty.” Videos have been posted that […]
The Palestinian Authority terrorist convicted last year of bombing a bus in Tel Aviv in 2012 was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in jail. The explosion on the local bus wounded 28 people. The terrorist, Mohammed Mafarji and who was 18 years old when he bombed the bus, said he carried out the attack during […]
A New York personal trainer has pleaded guilty in federal court to being part of a group of men who used violent means in exchange for pay to force Jewish men to give their wives religious divorces. David Hellman, 31, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J. and could be sentenced to up […]
The spokesman for a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) tried to kill himself with a knife on a main street in Ramallah on Sunday, sources told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. The man reportedly cut his neck with a knife but passersby saved him. He was reported to be in serious condition in […]
The time difference between Israel and the United States is now only six hours following the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the United States and Canada early Sunday morning. Israel moves its clocks forward on Friday morning, March 28. The exceptions to Daylight Saving Time in the United States are Hawaii and Arizona, but […]
Tunisia has barred Jews on a Norwegian cruise ship from leaving their cruise voyage and stepping foot in the country after theirboat docked in Tunis, according to B’nai Brith Canada. “The cruise line has a responsibility to its passengers to advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance. Better still the cruise line should avoid […]
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:
No related posts.