Rabbi Korinow to Retire at End of June

Rabbi Ira L. Korinow. (Courtesy photograph.)

After serving as spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill for 36 years, Rabbi Ira L. Korinow is retiring at the end of June.

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 in 1981 after serving congregations in Glencoe, Ill., and Laconia, N.H.

“Temple Emanu-El will not be the same without him at the bima, but his indelible mark will be on us for generations to come,” said immediate past president of Temple Emanu-El David Belsky. he described Korinow as “a man who’s 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 wished to be better parents, spouses, and Jews.”

In addition to his congregational work, Korinow has been a 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. He is also a board member of Friends Forever, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland and Jewish and Arab teens from Israel to the United States where they engage in a program to help build trust and respect for each other.

Korinow worked to create a community-wide Holocaust remembrance observance and, with Calvary Baptist Church, an annual celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The rabbi is a past president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, the Northeast Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Haverhill Rotary Club and 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 to 2002.

Korinow has received numerous honors from organizations both within and outside the Jewish community, including a B’nai B’rith award, Liberty Bell Award from the Haverhill Bar Association, Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America Yankee Clipper Council, Healer of the Year Award from Kadima Community Day School and the Unsung Hero Award from the Merrimack Valley Branch of the NAACP.