June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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OU Leader From Highland Park Sees Impact of Ukraine War Up Close

Jeff Korbman of Highland Park worked for decades as a leader in Jewish Federations before taking a position with the Orthodox Union seven years ago. He currently serves as their director of foundations and strategic partnerships. In mid-January, Korbman went to Israel to get more familiar with the OU’s Israel office and the broad range of activities and services they offer for olim. His primary goal was organizational; he is intent on increasing the level of donor support for the Israel office and wanted a firsthand encounter with their work. While he was there, the Israel office sent him on an errand, to affix a mezuzah in a family’s home in Akko. But this wasn’t any ordinary family. The Olojins—Grandpa, Mom, daughter and son—had fled Ukraine, landing first in Poland, then immigrating to Israel (one of 110 families to do so, thus far). The OU provided the family with essential resources on both major stops in their journey. And now the Israel office was offering the rudiments of Jewish life as well—a mezuzah, a Tanach, a hamsah and Jewish books.

When Korbman peeled the double-sided tape and began to affix the mezuzah to the wall, he noticed that Grandpa was tearing up at the sight. And when he recited the bracha, he noticed that mom was slowly repeating the words. Korbman saw firsthand that the family was building a new home, with pride and help from the Orthodox Union.

By Harry Glazer

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