JUNE 29, 2017 – HAVERHILL – After serving as spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill since September 1981, Rabbi Ira L. Korinow is retiring as of June 30, 2017.
A native of Newton, and a graduate of Boston College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, Korinow came to Haverhill after serving congregations in Glencoe, Illinois, and Laconia, New Hampshire.
In addition to his congregational work, Korinow has been a tireless advocate for civil rights and peace. In 1985, he formed part of a delegation that met with President Reagan concerning the plight of Soviet Jews, and was arrested in an act of civil disobedience for demonstrating in front of the Soviet embassy later that same year. Responding to the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Haverhill, Korinow spearheaded the creation of the Haverhill Civil Rights Commission and led rallies to unify the community. Korinow is also a board member of Friends Forever, a nonprofit organization that helps youth from around the world build lasting friendships across cultural, religious and political divides.
Outreach to the community has been a hallmark of Rabbi Korinow’s tenure, and the relationships he formed with local clergy led to the creation of a community-wide Yom HaShoah (Holocaust remembrance) observance and, with Calvary Baptist Church, an annual celebration of the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., combining elements of the Jewish Shabbat liturgy with the writings of Dr. King and music from the choirs of Calvary Baptist and Temple Emanu-El.
Korinow is a past president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, the Northeast Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Haverhill Rotary Club, and the Greater Haverhill Clergy Association. For several years, he was an associate member of the Rabbinical Assembly, the organizational body of Conservative rabbis in North America. He also served as chaplain of the Haverhill Police Department from 1995-2002.
In recognition of his contributions, Rabbi Korinow has received numerous honors from organizations both within and outside the Jewish community, including a B’nai B’rith award, the Liberty Bell Award from the Haverhill Bar Association, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America Yankee Clipper Council, the Healer of the Year Award from Kadima Community Day School, and the Unsung Hero Award from the Merrimack Valley Branch of the NAACP.
Immediate past president of Temple Emanu-El David Belsky described Rabbi Korinow as “a man who has served his community and his religion faithfully, energetically, and most honorably; a wonderful teacher; a committed and passionate advocate for civil rights; a powerful advocate for Israel; and a role model for all of us who wish to be better parents, spouses, and Jews,” adding that “Temple Emanu-El will not be the same without him at the bimah, but his indelible mark will be on us for generations to come.”
Family, friends, colleagues, and congregants honored Rabbi Korinow at a May 21, 2017, gala at Haverhill Country Club. Rabbi Korinow, addressing those gathered, stated, “I have been blessed … in serving this kehillah kedosha, this sacred community called Temple Emanu-El.”