German educationist; born 1821 in Nordheim, Bavaria; died Feb. 25, 1862, in Hoppstädten, Birkenfeld-Oldenburg. On graduating in 1842 from the Royal Training College for Teachers at Würzburg, Hecht was appointed by the district government of Lower Franconia special instructor of candidates for admission to his alma mater, a position which he soon relinquished in order to devote himself to his life-work of teaching Jewish youth. During three years' service in a small community in Lower Franconia he published numerous essays in Jewish periodicals, a Biblical history for Jewish elementary schools, and a Hebrew primer. On the invitation of David Einhorn he went in 1845 to Hoppstädten as teacher in the Jewish communal school. In conjunction with E. Goldmann, Einhorn's successor in the office of provincial rabbi, Hecht secured in 1856, after a campaign of vigorous agitation, full recognition by the state of the Jewish communal schools in Birkenfeld on equal terms with the Protestant and Catholic schools, and of Jewish communal teachers on the same footing as their Christian colleagues. In 1858 he was elected member of the "Provincialrath" (diet) of the principality.
In 1859 Hecht was charged with having reviled the state religion in his "Unterscheidungslehre Zwischen Juden- und Christenthum," but on trial before the provincial court was completely exonerated. As coeditor with A. Treu of Münster, he published in 1858 a religious journal entitled "Der Israelitische Haus- und Schulfreund," which was discontinued after its first year. Hecht's literary labors earned for him the honorary degree of Ph.D. from the University of Bonn.
Among the historical and pedagogical studies published by Hecht are a monograph on the Jews of Treves (Trier), and a pamphlet entitled "Der Vorsängerdienst der Israeliten nach Seiner Gesetzlichen Entwickelung." He is best known as a writer of devotional works and of text-books on religion. His writings include: "Biblische Gesch." Fulda, 1842 (American ed. revised by Samuel Adler and translated into English by M. Mayer, New York, 1859); "Israel's Gesch. von der Zeit des Bibelabschlusses bis zur Gegenwart," Leipsic, 1855 (the 3d ed., ib. 1877, is such in name only, being virtually a new work by M. Kayserling; Eng. transl. of 1st ed. by Max Lilienthal, Cincinnati, 1857); "Handbüchlein für Leseschüler des Hebräischen," Fulda, 1842; "Versuch das Hebräische Durch Deutsche Wörter zu Erlernen," Kreuznach, 1858; "Die Hebräische Vorschule," ib. 1859; "Kleine Hebräische Grammatik," ib. 1859; "Das Judenthum: ein Religionsbuch für Höhere Schulen," ib. 1860; "Liederbuch für Israelitische Schulen," ib. 1860; "Der Uebersetzungslehrer," ib. 1859; "Der Pentateuch Grammatisch Zergliedert," Brunswick, 1858; "Geschäftsaufsätze für Schulen," ib.; "Häster's Lesebücher für die Israelitischen Schulen Bearbeitet," Essen, 1855; "Unterscheidungslehre Zwischen Juden- und Christenthum," Hoppstädten, 1859; "Sefer Chajim, mit Uebersetzung und Neuen Gebeten," Brilon; "Kelch des Heils: Gebetbuch für Frauen und Jungfrauen," ib.; "Der Trostbecher," Berlin, 1861; "Der Pentateuch in Lehrreichen und Erbaulichen Betrachtungen, Erzählungen und Gedichten," Berlin, 1862; "Die Heilsquelle: Vollständiges Hebräisches Gebetbuch mit Deutscher Uebersetzung Nebst einem Anhange mit Deutschen Gebeten," Brilon, 1860; "Ueber Sabbath und Feiertagsschulen und deren Einrichtung," Fulda, 1842.
- Ben Chananja, 1862, pp. 90 et seq.;
- Sinai, 1862, pp. 112 et seq.;
- Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. v. 39, art. 607, and elsewhere.