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Bubby Soochi & Sochi Olympics
by Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, is the world’s major international multi-sport event being held in Sochi, Russia in the tradition of the Winter Olympic Games.  

The games are being covered in print media and on network TV to the delight of sports fans the world-over. These games will come to an end on Sunday, February 23.  Monday on Presidents Day also called Family Day in Canada, I went to visit my grandmother Soochi (Sara) where she is interred next to my paternal grandfather and namesake Mr. Sam (Zaydee Shea) Hecht of blessed memory. It is forty years now since she passed away on a Friday the eve of the holy Sabbath just as the sun was about to set. The extended Hecht  family observed her 40th Yahrzeit this past  Purim Katan but due to the incessant snow I visited her on the following Monday.  
 
My Bubby Soochi’s resting place is situated on the presently snow covered heights of Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens, NYUpon arrival, it was gratifying that the cemeteries main road had been cleared of the accumulating snow.
 
I found that the path to my grandparents resting place was covered knee deep in snow, untrammeled and serene, pristine in the afternoon winter sun.
 
The wind was whipping about so I tunneled out some snow and placed a memorial candle inside and proceeded to light it in her memory.  The flame remained lit as I recited various prayers from the Book of Psalms written by the Sweet Singer of Israel King David of blessed memory.
 
Indelibly etched is the memory of 40 years ago as I received the news of her passing over the phone just minutes before Sabbath candle lighting.
 
Bubby Soochi, although diminutive in stature, was for me a towering personality in matters pertaining to character, piety, humility and wisdom.
 
When I got to know Bubby Soochi she was already widowed for some time. She had been the devoted wife of Mr. Samuel (Shea) Hecht, a tall and handsome man who together with his life partner Soochi raised up an American family of six very lively and talented sons who all went on to receive orthodox Rabbinic Ordination who were very devoted Lubavitch - Chabad  Chassidim and to have very illustrious careers’ in serving the Jewish people and humanity. They are Harav Shlomo Zalman (Solomon)  of Chicago, Harav Moshe Yitzchok (Maurice) of New Haven, Harav Avraham Dov (Abraham B. ) of Brooklyn, Harav Yaacov Yehuda (Jacob J) of Brooklyn, Harav Peretz (Perry) and to long life Harav Sholom (Sidney) of Brooklyn. 
 
Bubby Soochi was most often found reading with devotion from her well-worn Tehillim book of psalms. Whenever my father took us along to visit with Bubby Soochi, which was mostly once a week, she would offer us children a glass of lemon flavored soda from the ever-present tray of Cornell Soda that was situated on the kitchen windowsill. 
 
Bubby Soochi, taught me how not to complain and to refrain from talking disrespectfully. These lessons were not necessarily verbalized, for Bubby Soochi taught us children these lessons through personal example. She taught us to appreciate all the things we have and enjoy and not to begrudge the good fortune of others.
 
Bubby Soochi would put her heart and deeply held feelings in the foods she prepared for us children. Now, many years later I believe that her special ingredient must have been love that permeated her prepared dishes with a delicious taste and appeal.  Upon the mention of food I also recall her smile and how her words of wisdom would enrich our Passover Family Seders that she was present at.
 
Bubby Soochi passed away when I was in my teen years, however I have come to know and appreciate her more as each year passes by.  The world says, “You can know a person by the friends they keep”.  Other than her immediate family, the best friend grandmother Soochi had, must have been her precious Tehillim book of psalms that she recited two or three times a day in its entirety!
 
So, as the world celebrates at Sochi the gold, silver and bronze medalists my grandmother’s grandchildren who are to be found on every continent of the world celebrate the life of Soochi.

As competiveness for new records and unparalleled excellence drives the contestants at Sochi, my Bubby Soochi wins the gold medal for her life and legacy of meaning and inspiration.


As the world at Sochi seeks adroitness and skill on ice and snow Bubby Soochi proved her mettle as being both courageous and indomitable as she weathered the many seasons and tribulations called life.


As Russia at Sochi seeks to reclaim its lost grandeur and glory through the hosting of games my Bubby Soochi’s bequest illuminates my life and that of her numerous grandchildren with profound dignity and brilliance.


Bubby Soochi’s legacy attests that the human spirit is sustained through faith in our benevolent Creator as we seek to live a life of meaningful and lasting accomplishment
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