Abraham Korf

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Born in 1932, in Charkov, Ukraine, Abraham arrived in America in 1953.

On his 27th birthday, during yechidus (a private audience with the  Lubavitcher Rebbe), Abraham received a blessing to  be successful in his search for a soulmate. 

A young newly-wed, Rabbi Korf arrived with his bride in Miami Beach, Florida in 1960 to begin his shlichus (mission) as Head Shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the State of Florida.

Rivka Eichenbaum

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A  talented girl from the Breslev  branch of Chassidim, Rivka  was a Beis Yaakov student boarding at a  match-maker's home in Crown Heights, New York when she was introduced to her chassan (bridegroom).


Rivka had a bubbly personality,  intelligence, and refined speaking skills that hinted at her sensitivity for others.


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Moishe Chaim  Eichenbaum,
Abraham  Korf and Yehoshua Korf on the way to the chupah (marriage canopy).





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Chaya Rivka Korf,
Rivka Eichenbaum and 
Sara Basya Eichenbaum on their way to the chupah.




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Avraham Korf and Rivka Eichenbaum were married by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory on a Tuesday evening the 13th of Shvat, 5720/February 11th, 1960.

As the mesader kiddushin (officiating Rabbi) the Lubavitcher Rebbe blesses Abraham (the  chassan/groom) and  Rivka (the kallah/bride) under the chupah.


Abraham's Early Life

Under the harsh rulership of Stalin, working long hours at  an early age to help his family survive, life for young Abraham Korf in hunger-stricken Communist Russia was fraught with struggle. Throughout the long and cold winter nights, Abraham wished in his heart of hearts to be sent to Yeshiva (Rabbinical Academy or College) to study Torah. 
 
When the opportunity arose for  Abraham and his brothers to study in a secret underground Yeshiva, their first  lesson was to lay low and out of sight in order to avoid detection by the Communist government. Though religious freedom was written  into the USSR's constitution, citizens caught teaching or learning the Torah were often sentenced to years of hard labor in Siberia.  
  
Undeterred by the threat, Abraham and his brothers excelled in their studies;  Abraham especially advanced at lightning speed through the older grades.

The Great Escape

As threats to their safety  escalated, the Korf family began to materialize their escape. Nights of  strategic planning led to the day in 1946 when it came time to up and  move.  Armed with fake Polish passports - though they didn't actually speak a word of Polish - and a bottle of  vodka, the Korf family caravan inched its way passed the tipsy guard who smiled as he waved them across the border. Heartfelt praises to G-d were raised up to heaven out of the cold parched lips stinging the ragged group of immigrants that set out into the night. 
  
Propelled by giddy dreams of  hope and freedom, relief was once again cut short during their detention at a series of displaced persons camps across war-ravaged Europe. 

A Taste of  Religious Freedom

At Yeshiva in Brunoy, a small suburb in France, the immigrant teen's dreams finally began to unfold.  For the first time in his life, Abraham tasted religious freedom.  Able to study uninterrupted, he began to seriously excel in all areas, from Talmudic Studies and Religious Law to esoteric concepts of the Torah.

Learning with The Rebbe

At the age of 19, with his dream to learn in Yeshiva fulfilled, Abraham  looked further towards New York, where he would be able to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  Abraham arrived in America in 1953.

An accelerated over-achiever, with added resolve to make up for the lost years in Russia, Rabbi Korf earned his shechita (ritual slaughterer) certification in 1954,  and went on to receive his Ph.D in Rabbinic studies, with honors in the fields of Rabbinic Law and Talmudic Studies.

An Emissary of The Rebbe in Eretz Yisroel

In 1956, Rabbi Korf was selected by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to be one of ten outstanding  young men to travel to Israel as the Rebbe's personal Emissaries. The group was  directed to bring moral support and a message of unity from the worldwide Jewish community to the Jews in Israel who were reeling from the brutal terrorist attack that had left four Yeshiva students dead.

Rabbi Korf and his band spent an uplifting month in Israel. They brought Jewish teachings and comfort to the communities, and granted interviews to the amazed secular press.

Lag B'Omer 1957

In 1957, fueled with his previous experiences and blessed with a personality that does not register limitations or recognize failure, Rabbi Korf decided to organize the first ever Lag B'Omer parade in New York. Schools from all over greater New York bused into Crown Heights bringing Jewish children from every walk of life to march proudly together in a spectacular Lag B'Omer parade. 

The Rebbe  looked on, beaming with pride, and then delivered a Chassidic discourse for the  crowds assembled there.

The Shlichus (Mission)

Determined to go out on Shlichus, the young couple didn't think of buying furniture. Instead they borrowed what they could and eagerly awaited their departure orders.  Less than a year into their marriage, the call came. They had been chosen to represent the Lubvitcher Rebbe as his Shluchim (Emissaries) for the sunny state of Florida!

Unfazed by Abraham's sparse and halting command of the English language, Rabbi and Rebetzin Korf packed up and said goodbye to their family and friends.

The Rebbe's Gift to Florida

Immediately when they arrived in Florida, the newlyweds dove straight in to Florida life and were  resourceful in accomplishing great things from the start. Even though money was extremely tight and their welcome wasn't always certain, the Rabbi and Rebbetzin viewed every obstacle as an opportunity and forged ahead.  

With kosher products hard to come by at all in those days, cholov Yisroel dairy products were almost unheard of.  Undaunted, Rabbi Korf headed out to the farms and milked the cows himself. Fifty years later, the Korfs marvel at the thousands and thousands of kosher products available in Florida supermarkets.

Lubavitch Educational Center

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Spurred on by their first-hand knowledge of the vitality of a Jewish education, as well as its critical importance for the survival and future of the Jewish nation, Rabbi and Rebetzin Korf founded Landow Yeshiva in 1966.

Under the umbrella of the Lubavitch Educational Center, which today incorporates a Pre-School, an Elementary School, Beis Chana High School for Girls, and a Rabbinical College, "Landow" is home to 800 students. Over the years, Florida media have responded to Rabbi Korf's requests to help with appeals to the community during times of financial crises - when staff and teachers have worked for love, without pay. 
 
Director of the  outreach and educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch (Central Organization for Jewish Education) of Florida, Rabbi Korf is also the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Hamedrash Levi Yitzchok on Alton Road in Miami Beach. 

On Being a Shliach (Emissary)

Invite Rabbi Korf to sum up what it  means to be a Shliach, and he'll tell you that:
"A Shliach is an Emissary, drawing his strength and power to succeed from his Rebbe."
In 2010, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Korf's dedicated and noble service as Head Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the State of Florida, Rabbi Korf remarked as follows: 
"This honor that is being bestowed upon my wife and I, is in no way recognition of us personally. As our father Jacob said: 

'Kotainty mkol hachasodim imikol haemes, ki b'makly ovarti es hayardein haz'eh v'ata hoyisi l'shnei machanois."
"I am  humbled by all the kindness and truths that Hashem has done with His servant;  for with my staff I crossed the Jordan and now I have become two camps."

"50 years  ago, when we were sent by our Rebbe, Florida was a place  void of Judaism. Without resources of any kind we set out as directed.

"Today we oversee 154 outreach centers, with synagogues, day  schools, mikvahs, services for the elderly, the infirm, the neglected and forgotten, with  education programs for Florida Jews of all ages.  With G-d's help we will reach each and every Jew, with the Rebbe's mission statement  that  'No Jew Should Be Left Behind' continuing to blaze the trail for Moshiach's imminent arrival."

The Jerusalem of Geulah 

In accordance with the Rebbe's directive in 1960 to "make Miami  and all of Florida the Jerusalem of golus (exile) and lead the way to the Jerusalem of geulah (redemption)," Rabbi and Rebetzin Korf have championed the initiation and development of 154 Chabad centers that provide religious and social services for the Jewish people of Florida.
 


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