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Crossing the Williamsburg Bridge

Rabbi Eli Hecht

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ISBN 10: 1413449662 / ISBN 13: 9781413449662
Published by Xlibris Corporation, 2004
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Karl Theis (Torrance, CA, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Crossing the Williamsburg Bridge

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed & Inscribed By Author

Edition: No Edition Stated.

About this title


By way of introducing my readers to a special world, often known only to the orthodox Chassidic Jewish community, I have selected to share my experiences as an eight-year-old American boy.

I am the third of nine children, the oldest boy and named after my deeply Chassidic great-grandfather, Eliyahu. It was thought that in order for me to give honor to his name I should be exposed to the lifestyle he and his family lived.

As a young child I was moved from a modern American orthodox home to my grandparents' home located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. There I met a new type of Jew, Hungarian Jews, refugees from Europe. Many had their children born in "displaced person camps." They had just arrived with their families to New York after a hard-earned escape from the Russian suppression of Hungary in 1957.

While living with my grandparents, called Upa and Uma, I learned how to live and dress in a Chassidic lifestyle. I learned to love my teacher, called Rebbe, and my classmates.

In the 1950s, almost all of my classmates were children of the infamous Auschwitz deportees from Hungary. Most teachers had branded tattooed numbers on their arm, physical reminders of inhuman cruelties.

I remember visiting a family with my Uma, and being told by the mother, "How lucky you are yingela, sonny-boy, that you have a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, uncles, aunts and even grandparents. The only thing I have left from Germany is this!" She shoved her arm with the blue numbers in front of me.

Other times, my Jewish teacher, a survivor of the camps, would cry in class, thinking of the suffering he and his family had experienced. Many of the school children were from second marriages. Either their father's or mother's first spouse had been killed. It wasn't uncommon for children to have half brothers and sisters who were 10 or 15 years older than they.

Being a fourth generation American living in Williamsburg with survivors of co

About the Author:

Rabbi Eli Hecht is national vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He is the regional director of the Chabad Center in the South Bay of Southern California. His Chabad houses a synagogue, infant day care, a private day school, seniors and chaplaincy programs. He is a Chabad-Lubavitch ordained rabbi as well as a rabbinical judge and is past president of the Rabbinical Council of California. Rabbi Hecht writes editorials for the media, commenting on education, morals, and current issues. His work has been syndicated and distributed by the New York Times Special Features Syndicate, Knight Ridder and Jewish media.

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