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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.
No homework, no tuition, no pitch to put on tefillin or commit to doing any specific mitzvah. He compares his program to Speed Dating (which was invented by another, albeit much larger, Jewish educational organization, Aish Ha Torah). “In a short period you can accomplish a lot.” He spends up to an hour or two each week deciding on that Thursday’s topic and boiling all the material down. “The hardest thing is juggling the schedules.” Midtown, downtown, then midtown again. With Purim approaching, Rabbi Hecht recently touched on some features of the holiday that celebrates Jewish survival in ancient Persia. “I never spent a dollar on advertising.” Most of his students are from non-Orthodox or unaffiliated backgrounds.
First, Rabbi Hecht asks about each student’s family. “I’m in and out.” While he doesn’t know of any Manhattan rabbis doing what he is doing, about a half dozen rabbis, all Orthodox so far, including two in his extended family, have started teaching their own “6-Minute Rabbi” classes in the New York area — and beyond. The short time frame “worked unbelievably” in the Chinese city’s high-pressure community of foreign Jewish businessmen, he said. it became a ‘cool thing.’” Since Rabbi Hecht’s cousin, Rabbi Moshe Hecht, added the mini-classes to his teaching schedule at the Chabad of Windsor Terrace five years ago, he said he’s seen an impact. Dean Palin, who works in real estate, started studying with Rabbi Hanoch Hecht about four years ago and has kept it up. I make time for it,” he said, noting that he shares the lessons with his children over Shabbat.
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Carthaginian naval ram from the Battle of the Aegates (First Punic War, 241 B. It carries a 35-character Punic inscription, offered as a supplication to the god Baal and Actium.
Naval warfare in the Mediterranean rarely used sails, and the use of rams specifically required oarsmen over sails in order to maneuver with accuracy and speed, and particularly to reverse the movement of a ramming ship to disentangle it from its sinking victim, lest it be pulled down when its victim sank.
“I was worried that it would be super ‘Jewy,’” making it hard for the non-Orthodox to relate.
But, he said, “the rabbi makes it very accessible,” speaking in terms of general ethical principles. “If you spend 10 minutes you’ve messed up the entire point,” he said. Hecht, offered the classes in Hong Kong during a two-year stint there.