Rabbi Ira Korinow’s influence and importance is well known to members of Temple Emanu-El, but now many others in the North Shore will be aware of his impact.

The Boston North Jewish Journal of Salem, Mass., recently named him one of the North Shore’s 30 most notable Jews in the last 30 years.

Korinow was the only nominee from Merrimack Valley to make the cut. He is unaware who sent in his nomination. He was also one of only four rabbis, and the only reform rabbi, honored in the newspaper’s June 1 to June 14 issue.

The reform movement in Judaism, one of four major movements that differ in their understanding of the Torah, is the most liberal in terms of social action and political issues, said Korinow.

In selecting him to the prestigious list, the journal was especially impressed by his activism. Korinow’s accomplishments include being the founder and chairman of the Greater Haverhill Civil Rights Commission.

“I had no idea,” he said, humbly. “I received a phone call from them and it was quite a surprise. I’m very honored,” he said. “Who knows how many tens of thousands of people read that paper.”

In his 29 years as a rabbi — 26 years at the Main Street temple — Korinow has touched many lives. Korinow fits Temple Emanu-El and Temple Emanu-El fits Korinow, and it’s a relationship that he looks forward to keeping for many years to come.

Temple Emanu-El is a “pluralist” community, meaning that worshippers from the most observant to the almost nonobservant can come together in their faith.

“Here in our synagogue, one can express their Judaism in any way they feel comfortable,” Korinow said. “I am very much a part of this community and the community, both Jewish and the rest of Haverhill, is very much a part of my life. This synagogue reflects my own views of Judaism and I don’t think any rabbi can say they’re as fortunate or as happy as I have been.”

He spoke with The Haverhill Gazette:

Age: 56

Birthplace: Newton, Mass.

Education: Newton High School (1969), bachelor’s degree from Boston University (1973), master’s degree in Hebrew literature (1976), rabbinic ordination (1978) and doctor of divinity (2003), all from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

Hobbies: Following Boston sports teams; riding my motor scooter through the back roads of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Community involvement: Founder and chairman of the Greater Haverhill Civil Rights Commission; past president of the Greater Haverhill Clergy Association; past president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.

What do you like most about your job? Helping families and individuals through life-cycle events, both happy and sad. Also, teaching people who have chosen to become Jewish.

What do you like least? Emergencies that take me away from spending time with my family.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to share my passion for Jewish life and commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) with my congregation and community.

Why did you choose your career path? First, I had an excellent role model in my rabbi while growing up, and second, I wanted to do something that would help people live a meaningful life.

Best thing about Haverhill? The diversity of culture and religion among its residents; also, the many fine restaurants that Haverhill now boasts.

Worst thing? The late afternoon traffic going home on Route 125.

Do you have pets? Two cats: Tuli and Oreo

Any siblings? One sister, Sheilah, who lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Alternate career choice: Tour guide in Israel

Family? Wife, Gail (Jaffe), three sons and a daughter-in-law: Morry (age 27), Raanan (age 17), Doron (age 25) and his wife, Elana Fein.

Type of entertainment preferred: A good movie, either at home or in a theater.

Favorite entertainer: The late Groucho Marx

Favorite actress: Meryl Streep

Favorite actor: Woody Allen

Favorite film: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”

Favorite song: “Shalom, Salaam”

Favorite magazine: New Republic

Kind of music: Classical, oldies and modern Israeli

Favorite books: The Rabbi Small mystery series by the late Harry Kemelman

Favorite quote: “The hardest work of all is to do nothing.”

Favorite food: Asian

Proudest accomplishment: Founding the Greater Haverhill Civil Rights Commission

Pet peeve: Drivers who do not signal when turning

Favorite TV show: “Boston Legal”

Your tombstone should read: “I’ll be back in 10 minutes”

If you could be anyone else: Bill Gates, so I could distribute my wealth to thousands of needy causes around the world.

Which person, living or dead, would you want to join for dinner and why? Steven Spielberg to learn how his work inspired his becoming a more observant Jew.

What one thing would you most like to accomplish? To leave this world a little better than the way it was when I entered it.

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