We regret to inform you of the passing of well-known Crown Heights silversmith R’ Herschel Pekkar, who passed away today, 27 Av at the age of 85.
R’ Hershel was known for his beautiful silver work, as well as being the one who crafted the menorah used every year in 770. He was also known around the neighborhood for his witty humor and infectious smile.
He was born in 5686 in Yekatrinoslav, USSR (today called Dnipro), the city which merited to have the Rebbe MH”M’s father as their rov until his exile to Kazakhstan.
After World War Two – during which Hirschel’s father, a soldier in the Russian army, was killed – his mother escaped to Germany with her son, where they stayed for a time at a displaced persons’ camp near Bergen-Belsen. At age ten he was sent to live with a relative in England and attended the Gateshead and Manchester yeshivahs there.
He became a jeweler, eventually settling in London. “Although I was leading the life of a religious Jew, I felt something was missing in my life,” he said once in an interview
When he was 18 years old, he began to study Torah with a Chabad rabbi named Yankel Gurkow who introduced him to Chassidus and told him about the Rebbe.
In 5722, Hirschel came to New York along with a group from England, led by Mr. Zalman Jaffe. At that time, he had his first yechidus with the Rebbe. “I felt that this was the connection that I was looking for,” he said.
During that audience, he discussed the issue of his livelihood with the Rebbe. The Rebbe encouraged him to take the time to improve his skills as a jeweler.
He is survived by his wife, Tzivia and children, Chana Hurwitz – Crown Heights, Devorah Shagalov – Florida, Moshe Pekkar – Florida and Yossi Pekkar – Mexico.
The levaya will take place tomorrow, Friday, passing by 770 Eastern Parkway at 3 PM and burial at Montefiore Cemetery at 4 PM.