At the office of architect Marc Kushner last week, Rabbi Hecht spoke to 14 employees, Jews and non-Jews, seated at bleacher-type benches built into an office wall. “It’s growing,” said Kushner, who has studied with Rabbi Hecht for a year.
“I was worried that it would be super ‘Jewy,’” making it hard for the non-Orthodox to relate.
The seventh Rebbe transformed the movement into one of the largest and most widespread Jewish movements in the world today.
Chabad Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, has good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rabbi Hecht did some online research and found a study that reported that the average person’s attention span is about six and a half minutes. For people too busy to travel to a class, he brings his classes to them. Yom Kippur centers on the man-and-God relationship; Purim’s emphasis is man-to-man, a day of giving charity and distributing mishloach manot food packages and sharing festive meals with friends.
It’s a bit like the popular lunch and learn programs, but in far less time, and without the lunch. “Our relationship between man and man is more important than our relationship between man and God.” At first, Rabbi Hecht was not sure if the idea would work in practice. The self-doubt went away.” From a single student, Rabbi Hecht’s weekly day in Manhattan has grown to about two dozen, by word of mouth and offers to people he meets.
Rabbi Hanoch Hecht’s six minutes of Torah in Manhattan one recent day lasted seven and a half hours.
Earlier this month, the rabbi, an emissary of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement in upstate Rhinebeck, arrived at a.m.