Online dating has become an integral part of my life.
First, Rabbi Hecht asks about each student’s family. “I’m in and out.” While he doesn’t know of any Manhattan rabbis doing what he is doing, about a half dozen rabbis, all Orthodox so far, including two in his extended family, have started teaching their own “6-Minute Rabbi” classes in the New York area — and beyond. The short time frame “worked unbelievably” in the Chinese city’s high-pressure community of foreign Jewish businessmen, he said. it became a ‘cool thing.’” Since Rabbi Hecht’s cousin, Rabbi Moshe Hecht, added the mini-classes to his teaching schedule at the Chabad of Windsor Terrace five years ago, he said he’s seen an impact. Dean Palin, who works in real estate, started studying with Rabbi Hanoch Hecht about four years ago and has kept it up. I make time for it,” he said, noting that he shares the lessons with his children over Shabbat.
Rabbi Hecht did some online research and found a study that reported that the average person’s attention span is about six and a half minutes. For people too busy to travel to a class, he brings his classes to them. Yom Kippur centers on the man-and-God relationship; Purim’s emphasis is man-to-man, a day of giving charity and distributing mishloach manot food packages and sharing festive meals with friends.
It’s a bit like the popular lunch and learn programs, but in far less time, and without the lunch. “Our relationship between man and man is more important than our relationship between man and God.” At first, Rabbi Hecht was not sure if the idea would work in practice. The self-doubt went away.” From a single student, Rabbi Hecht’s weekly day in Manhattan has grown to about two dozen, by word of mouth and offers to people he meets.
“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.