Rabbi Abraham Berl Hecht passed away, Saturday evening, four months shy of his 91st birthday. His funeral was scheduled for Sunday afternoon near Chabad headquarters. For 50 years he was the spiritual leader of Congregation Sharre Zion of Brooklyn, the largest Sephardic congregation in North America. He also served with distinction as the president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.
A disciple of the last two Lubavitcher rebbes, Rabbi Hecht was put on leave by his synagogue and barred from entering Israel "for security reasons" following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. A few months before, he had told a rabbinical gathering that Jewish law could permit killing Rabin and then-Foreign Minister Shim'on Peres for their proposed withdrawal from Judea, Samaria (Shomron) and Gaza under the Oslo Accords. His passing came a little more than nine years after he escaped a fire that took the life of his wife Liba. He is survived by children and grandchildren around the world.