Shea Hecht

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Shea Hecht is the chairman of the board of the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education [1] and a leading Chabad rabbi. He is the son of the late Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, one of the closest confidants of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Biography[edit]

Hecht is a fifth generation New Yorker, born in Brooklyn. Born to Rabbi J.J. and Chave Hecht he is one of twelve children. He was educated in the Lubavitch Yeshiva Central School System, where he received his rabbinic ordination.

He rose to prominence in the 1970s after he began a program that sought to remove and educate Jewish youths away from various cults. This inspired his autobiography Confessions of a Jewish Cult Buster.[1]

As a community leader during the violent Crown Heights riot in 1991, Hecht worked across racial barriers in the pursuit of a harmonious side-by-side existence between the Hasidic and African-American communities.[2] Along with Edison Jackson, he co-chaired the Crown Heights Coalition after its inception.[3][4][5][6] For his leadership and service during the riots, he received the Buffalo Soldier Award.[7]

Hecht was appointed by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as Commissioner of Human Rights[8] and as member of the Police Task Force Committee.[8][9] Additionally, in 1998, Mayor Giuliani appointed Hecht to the Committee for Proper Art in New York City.[10][11]

Currently, he is a dean at Hadar Hatorah Yeshiva in Brooklyn, NY, a yeshiva dedicated to fostering the Baal Teshuvah movement, as well as a faculty member of the Ivy League Torah Study Program.[12] He also served as the spiritual leader of the Seaview Jewish Center in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

Radio & press[edit]

After his father died, Hecht assumed the role of host of the "Shema Yisroel" radio program, a weekly one-hour show that focused on religion broadcast on WEVD in New York. Hecht was also featured as host alongside Felipe Luciano on the afternoon drive show on WWRL,[13][14] and later moved to the morning drive show alongside Karen Hunter. He currently hosts the Dov Hikind show once a month on Sat night.

He writes a weekly column that has been printed in many papers across the world such as JPost,[15] Jewish press,[16][17] GOP USA,[18] and Israel National news.[19]

On May 4, 2014 Shea started a new family advice call in show for Israel National Radio. Israel National Radio is the online radio stating for Arutz Sheva.[20]

Don King[edit]

Hecht is also known as Don King's Rabbi.[21][22][23][24] As a result of their friendship, King donated one million dollars to N.C.F.J.E. Hecht was also publicly seen at the trial of King in New York city.[25] King also marched alongside Hecht in Crown Heights to further Jewish and Black relations.[26]

Politics[edit]

As the son of the Great Rabbi J.J. Hecht he was born into the political arena. Although Chabad Rabbis normally do not directly back candidates for office Shea Hecht is different. Shea explains that the Rebbe gave his father special dispensation to endorse candidates for office. Shea has known to sway elections by giving candidates his support. Most notably in 1998, he backed Chuck Schumer instead of longtime incumbent Al D'amato, acknowledging Schumer's help in the 1991 Crown Heights riots.[27] Shea also backed Rudy Giuliani for his run for Mayor of the city of New York in his first try at mayor in 1989. Shea was also the first Jewish leader to publicly back Scott Stringer for city Comptroller against formen Governor Spitzer[28] He has written many op-eds over the course of his career supporting many candidates running for office. According to the Guardian International, Rabbi Shea Hecht has the influence over 200,000 voters in any given election.[29]

Political views[edit]

He is a strong supporter of school vouchers.[30][31]

Family[edit]

Hecht is married to Bella (née Sufrin), the daughter of the late Reverend A.D. Sufrin from London. Together they have ten children. His eldest son Rabbi Yitchok Hecht is a director of Chabad of Ulster County (NY).[32] His son Levi Hecht is a real estate developer in New York, was named one of the "People to Watch" in the Hudson Valley in 2005.[33] His son Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, also known as the 6 Minute Rabbi (for his quick, inspiring Torah lessons) is the director of Chabad of Dutchess County and the spiritual leader of the Rhinebeck Jewish Center in Rhinebeck, NY.[34][35]

Controversies[edit]

Hecht claims to be one of the pioneers in the Hasidic community of bringing child abuse to the forefront.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

Shea's perspectives on sex-abuse have recently come under attack. In a recent article from the Tablet Magazine, Hecht maintains, that rabbis should be granted the discretion to determine whether victims are lying before getting involved in a case of accused molestation. 'The last time I remembered, I was ordained as a rabbi,' said Hecht. 'If the person [victim] came to me, I have at least the responsibility to decide if it’s true or not true, because they want guidance.'[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hecht, Shea; Clorfene, Chaim (1 June 1985). Crosen, Chaya, ed. "Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster". Tosefos Media – via Amazon. 
  2. ^ "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". 
  3. ^ http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewarticle/c343_a10086/News/New_York/Neighborhoods.html
  4. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/ny_local/2001/08/23/2001-08-23_beep_honor_peace_coalition_c.html
  5. ^ "Crown Heights Coalition Has Done Much to Heal Community". The New York Times. 9 February 1994. 
  6. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/19/nyregion/report-finds-an-embattled-crown-hts.html?n=Top/News/Health/Diseases,%20Conditions,%20and%20Health%20Topics/AIDS&pagewanted=2
  7. ^ http://www.jedavis-stopviolence.org/awards.html
  8. ^ a b "Giuliani Sneers, and Even Friends Bridle". The New York Times. 28 March 1998. 
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/27/nyregion/giuliani-dismisses-police-proposals-by-his-task-force.html?pagewanted=all
  10. ^ http://www.loopentertainment.net/speakers.html
  11. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/31/nyregion/giuliani-makes-choices-for-a-decency-panel-on-art.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
  12. ^ http://iltsp.org/FacultyFounder.asp/
  13. ^ http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2004/01/wwrl-1600-ams-mornin-20040128
  14. ^ "Browse by Author". 
  15. ^ "Where boys and girls don't mix". 
  16. ^ http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/21048
  17. ^ http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/16070
  18. ^ http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/guest/2008/rsh_0905.shtml
  19. ^ "Rabbi Shea Hecht -". 
  20. ^ "About Rabbi Shea Hecht - Radio - Arutz Sheva". 
  21. ^ http://www.nypost.com/seven/08102007/sports/king_holds_court_as_only_he_can_sports_lenn_robbins.htm
  22. ^ "A Divorcee Toughens Up". 15 November 2016. 
  23. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/gossip/1997/08/22/1997-08-22_bratton_says_maple_remains_t.html
  24. ^ http://www.eastsideboxing.com/index.php?m=200711
  25. ^ "Prosecutor Calls King a Liar Who Defrauded an Insurer". The New York Times. 30 June 1998. 
  26. ^ "EBSCO Online Library Search Engine Directory - Find Articles, News, Periodicals and Other Premium Online Content". 
  27. ^ "The Jewish Week - Connecting the World to Jewish News, Culture, and Opinion". 29 April 2015. 
  28. ^ Line, Chabad On. "Stringer Touted as Moral Choice". 
  29. ^ Vines, Brian (19 April 2016). "Who is God's candidate? Jewish voters speak out ahead of New York primary" – via The Guardian. 
  30. ^ "West Orange rally seeks school voucher support - New Jersey Jewish News". 
  31. ^ http://www.crownheights.ch/blog/blog.php?bid=6130
  32. ^ "Chabad Lubavitch of Ulster County: Where all are welcome!". 
  33. ^ "- recordonline.com". 
  34. ^ "Chabad Dutchess & The Rhinebeck Jewish Center". 
  35. ^ "The 6 Minute Rabbi - Innovated by Rabbi Hanoch Hecht". 
  36. ^ "Sicko: Kid I abused 'wed me'". 
  37. ^ "Convicted molester may face life". 
  38. ^ "Pedophile faces new charges after getting only two years". 
  39. ^ "Fix perverted justice". 
  40. ^ "Confessed pervert gets just 2 years". 
  41. ^ Edelman, Susan (11 December 2011). "Orthodox sex abuse scandal". 
  42. ^ "A Brazen Blog About Alleged Child Sex-Abusers in Chabad Community Divides Crown Heights".