Yitzhak Aharon Korff
Grand Rabbi Yitzhak Aharon Korff (Ira A. Korff) is the Rebbe of Zvhil – Mezhbizh. Since 1975 he has been the Chaplain of the City of Boston (serving the Boston Police and Fire Departments, Mayor's Office, and other City departments and agencies) and spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Jacob, Zvhil–Mezhbizh Beis Medrash of Boston, Miami, Florida, and Jerusalem, Israel. He is a dayan (judge of Jewish law) of the BaDaTz Boston Beth din (rabbinical court) and Vaad HaRabbonim (council of rabbis). He is also Consul General to the government of Austria and publisher of the Boston-based Jewish newspaper The Jewish Advocate.
Grand Rabbi Korff is a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the 18th century founder of the Hasidic movement, through the Baal Shem Tov’s grandson Rabbi Boruch of Medzhybizh, founder of the Mezhbizh Hasidic dynasty. Rabbi Korff also descended from numerous other Hasidic dynasties, including Zlotshev, Chernobyl, Apt, Yampol and Karlin, as well as Zvhil.
The Rebbe's second wife, the Rebbetzin, is a native of Jerusalem and a descendant of the Baal Shem Tov and the Hasidic dynasties of Zvhil, Zlotshev, and Tshernobl. She is the daughter of the late Shomer Emunim Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Avrohom Chayim Roth of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, who was the son of Reb Arele. Her mother, the late Shomrei Emunim Rebbetzin, Rabbi Korff's third cousin, was the daughter of the previous Zvhiler Rebbe of Jerusalem, Rabbi Mordechai.
He received three ordinations (Smicha, D.D.), educated at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, the Rabbinical Seminary of Israel, and Yeshivas Beis Mordechai (Zvhil) of Jerusalem, and was tutored privately by masters of Hasidism and Kabbalah.
In addition, The Rebbe is a graduate of Columbia University, Harvard University, Hebrew College, Brooklyn Law School, and Boston University School of Law, and holds the BA., B.J.E., J.D., and LL.M. degrees. In conjunction with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Harvard Law School International Law Center he received an M.A. in international relations, an M.A.L.D. in international law and diplomacy, and a Ph.D. in international law. He was also a resident graduate at Harvard Divinity School.
Grand Rabbi Korff simultaneously combined careers as a rabbi, chaplain, lawyer, diplomat, businessman and entrepreneur. His grandfather Jacob I. Korff was a Hasidic Rebbe, and he eventually assumed the position of successor to his grandfather.
In the 1970's and early 1980s, Rabbi Korff served as rabbi of Charles River Park Synagogue, then an orthodox congregation in Boston, Temple Beth Sholom of Providence, a Conservative synagogue which he changed to orthodox, and Temple Aliyah, a Conservative synagogue in Needham.
After marrying Shari Redstone, and while continuing to serve as a rabbi, Korff went into the family's entertainment business, serving as president of National Amusements, the Redstone family business through which they exercise various degrees of control in Viacom and CBS, from 1987 until 1994 during which time he expanded in the United States and into the UK, and participated in the takeover of Viacom, deciding to leave the company following the divorce.
He organized and staffed one of the first White Collar Crime units in the United States as a special consultant to the Norfolk County (Mass.) District Attorney's Office, and he served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for Massachusetts. On a political level he has advised candidates for political office at the City Council, Mayoral, Mass. Senate, Governor’s Office, and U.S. Senate and Congressional level, and assisted officials in substantive matters following their election to office.
He has served as an advisor and consultant in both public and private international relations, assisting numerous governments (including the United States, the U.K., Austria, Thailand, China, Jordan and others) in matters of diplomacy and international relations, and he has advised numerous national and multi-national business ventures in the United States and abroad.
Rabbi Korff is also the author of Meshivas Nefesh Yitzchok: Insights of a Contemporary Chassidic Master, published (2001) in the original Hebrew/Yiddish/Aramaic and in English translation, on Kabbalah and Halachah, Jewish Law.
- Toldos Anshei Shem, Rand and Greenblat, New York, 1950
- Sefer Meshivas Nefesh Yitzhak, New York, 2000, 2001, second Revised Edition ISBN 0-9645367-1-4
- HaHasidut, Prof. Yizhak Alfasi, Jerusalem.
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