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“I want to get the high-powered people, the busy people,” Rabbi Hecht said.
Sheldon Lobel, a zoning and land use attorney who lives in upstate Millbrook, has hosted Rabbi Hecht’s six-minute class for five years after the two encountered each other at a menorah-lighting ceremony. I learn something every time,” said Lobel, a member of a Conservative synagogue in Poughkeepsie.
“I was worried that it would be super ‘Jewy,’” making it hard for the non-Orthodox to relate.Usually he arranges a dozen in-and-out sessions; sometimes, up to 18. The rabbi typically meets with a single student; sometimes, a few at a time.Sometimes in a private office, sometimes in a conference room, sometimes in a boiler room – wherever space is available.The rabbi has lived in Dutchess County with his wife, Tzivie, and children for nine years.He began his six-minute gig when someone he knew in Manhattan indicated an interest in incorporating some regular Torah learning into his schedule, but couldn’t find the time. “This is not just a gimmick.” It’s serious, albeit abbreviated, learning. “Purim is on a very higher level than Yom Kippur, spiritually speaking,” he said.
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Rabbi Hanoch Hecht’s six minutes of Torah in Manhattan one recent day lasted seven and a half hours.