The Bubby (Grandma) of Us All
Our family and close friends have personally endured a very difficult last few years, during which, we have experienced and suffered the tragic loss of many cherished souls.
Amongst the recently departed, was my wife’s dear grandmother, Rebbetzin* Chave Hecht, OB”M, or “Bubby Hecht”, as she was affectionately known by many who knew her.
Delayed on an LAX tarmac, my wife and I, were unable to reach New York in time for the funeral but were fortunate to have watched it on livestream, where we had an opportunity to witness the communal homage, love and respect paid to a woman so well deserved.
The Brooklyn, Shiva** House was a buzzing hive of activity with streams of non-stop foot traffic throughout the seven-day mourning period. Dignitaries, Politicians, Clergy and hundreds of friends, family and people of all ages, countries and walks of life, came to mourn, and pay their respects to the grieving family.
Widowed at the tender age of 63, Bubby Hecht was left to care for her aging parents and twelve children, who were left orphaned, in the blink of an eye, when the heart of their dear father, Rabbi Jacob Hecht, OB”M, known simply as “JJ” suddenly stopped, whilst spending an enjoyable weekend, visiting the overnight summer girls camp, called Camp Emunah, that he had founded together with his wife, many years earlier.
JJ, was a one of a kind Rabbi, who aside from his extensive communal obligations also had financial and operational responsibility for an array of considerable, cause based and mission driven organizations, in his capacity as a devoted confidant, political liaison and personal spokesman for the revered, Brooklyn based Lubavitcher “Rebbe”, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, OB”M.
As such, in addition to her already overwhelming responsibilities to her shattered family, Bubby Hecht was thrust headfirst into a position where she was responsible for charting the direction and supporting the running of daily operations for tens of different school, camp, educational and communal based organizations and programs.
While sitting at the Shiva, my mother-in-law related, that her mother had confided in her, that at the time, after absorbing the loss of her beloved husband and the seemingly insurmountable burden now placed on her shoulders, she wanted her life to end, and felt she could not go on. She described how her loving children, each came to her and told her how much they needed her, and how much she was needed. And so, strengthened by her family and with unwavering faith, she chose to truly lead a “life worth living” over the next thirty-two golden years.
She tenderly raised twelve adoring children, each of whom are highly accomplished and respected, and all are blessed with large families of their own. She continued to direct the many organizations with passionate dedication and became an exemplary role model and Bubby to the thousands of children over the years, who had the opportunity to bask in the summer bliss of her camps, or to the many souls who were educated in her schools, comforted in her home, or saved from the horrors of addiction, cults, poverty, and persecution.
Bubby Hecht is the regal matriarch of a large, proud, and loving family, spread far and wide throughout the globe, who continue the good work of their venerable predecessors. She is sorely missed by her hundreds of adoring children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren, one of whom, my nephew, who was born during her Shiva period, and named this very morning.
Her story is a lesson for us all. From the depths of despair, springs forth true blessing. Our individual soul is precious, not to be wasted. Each of us are needed so that we can fulfill our unique purpose on this planet, utilizing our precious time to perform acts of goodness and kindness, with loving hearts and purposeful minds.
May her memory be a blessing, for her lifetime of good deeds, with fervent prayers for the health and happiness of her entire family, and the continued success of the wonderful organizations that she helmed.
* A Rebbetzin is a Rabbi’s wife ** A Shiva refers to the Jewish seven-day mourning period.