I Didn’t Cry…

18 Jan 2023

“I didn’t cry… but I came really close. And, truth be told, grandpa did.”

Jeff Korbman, OU Director of Foundations & Strategic Partnerships, describes his meaningful experience on a recent trip to Israel.

“While I could not count how many mezuzot I have affixed in my lifetime, I can tell anyone which was the most emotional to do…..the one I put up three hours ago.

The Olojins are a Jewish family from Ukraine. They recently fled from home because of the war. Not all of them, to be sure, dad stayed behind by law to help fight. Grandpa, mom, daughter and son left. Because of the system our own team put into place, the Olojins made it to Poland where they were met with basic provisions. Food. Clothes. Shelter. Even some toys.

From there, they came to Israel – Akko up north, where they are one of 110 families that have resettled in the country. Here they are being welcomed by the country, and OU Israel in particular. Tonight, we delivered a Jewish gift basket to the Olojins, comprised of a Tanach, various Jewish books, a hamsah for the wall and a mezuzah.

Then came time to hang the mezuzah on their front doorpost.

I am not sure I got all the double-sided tape peeled off the back before I saw grandpa’s first tear. I stopped. I muddled through a bracha and then took a very deep breath.

This is OU Israel.

This is us.

Jeff Korbman is the OU Director of Foundations & Strategic Partnerships





The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.