The Jewish Community of Hebron, the Hebron Fund, friends and family mourn the loss of Rabbi Yitzchak (Irwin) Pechman, who founded the Hebron Fund almost 40 years ago. He is survived by his wife Ruth Pechman, brother Burton Pechman, four children, many grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Rabbi Pechman lived in both New York and Jerusalem and was a passionate advocate for the Torah, people and land of Israel.
The funeral was held on Sunday April 10, 2016, in Jerusalem where his son-in-law David M. Weinberg said the following:
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Tradition instructs us not to eulogize in full fashion during the month of Nissan. I think it nevertheless necessary, at minimum, to provide a basic recounting of my father-in-law’s awe-inspiring life. I will try to do so without emotional embellishment, in keeping with halachic guidelines. For now, I put aside the many kindnesses he showered upon me and the entire family, and will refrain from recounting the many lessons and legacies he left us. We’ll make do with a few short biographical notes.
My father in law, Harav Yitzchak (Irwin) ben Dov Pechman, was born in 1933 in New York to Ben and Lily Pechman of Crown Heights where he attended the Crown Heights Yeshiva, and studied in the Rav’s shiur at Yeshiva University, from which he received rabbinic ordination.
For close to fifty years, he worked in the family firm, Willmark Bakery Products, based in Williamsburg. He knew every challah baker in greater New York, and they knew him. Every Shabbat eve, we were expected to guess from which bakery he had brought home challot. For close to forty years, he was on the board of Congregation Ohab Zedek in Belle Harbor, NY. He was an early and frequent visitor to Israel, beginning in his first trip, in 1953 – by boat. He then traveled to Israel again, together with my mother-in-law, on their honeymoon in 1963.
He followed that up by frequent annual visits to Israel. In fact, he was wont to say that he lived in Israel, but visited America for 50 weeks a year. Four years ago, he was proud to make aliyah to Jerusalem.
His love for the land, people and State of Israel was unbounded, as was his deep connection to Torah learning, Torah institutions, and Torah leaders. It is no surprise that he was proud to see all his children and grandchildren grow to settle in the Land of Israel.
For forty years, my father-in-law devoted himself to the rebuilding of the Jewish community of Hebron. I’m sure his passion for the City of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs and for its brave residents will yet be marked and recorded at future occasions.
Few people I have ever known were as familiar as he was with the politics and statecraft of this country. He devoured every news item and policy study there was to read in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, and could discuss and debate every angle of our collective challenges for hours. He kept copies of the Israeli news journal, Panim el Panim, beginning in 1951, for decades.Few people I have ever known were as familiar as he was with the Torah commentator Rashi. Every grandchild of his knows exactly what my father-in-law’s favorite Rashi quotations were, since he would come back to them, and expand upon them, year after year.
I apologize for this dry, dispassionate, bare-bones recounting of Abba/Sabba/Harav Yitzchak’s life, but that is all we can do today. I do want to add, on behalf of his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, a note of deep appreciation for the loving and completely natural way in which he and Savta (grandmother) embraced us into the Pechman family, and supported us every step of the way. I want to wish Ima/Savta long life and good health, and continued pride from all her children.
And finally, a word of deep thanks to my father-in-law’s assistant, David Lixenberg, who has cared for Abba over the past two years with tremendous professionalism, strength and love, including full-time duty in the hospital over the past five weeks. Hashem yivarech otcha. Thank you all for coming this morning out of respect for Harav Yitzchak ben Dov z”l.
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Article originally published here