Compass

Michael Brodman

Michael was born in 1982 Israel, Grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where his father was the Rabbi of a large, Jewish community. Encouraged from a young age to be kind and compassionate, Michael grew up with a strong desire to help Jewish people in need. In 2007, after receiving his teacher's certificate, he travelled with his wife and three young children to work with Tikva, a humanitarian organization in Ukraine, providing lifesaving services for orphans, destitute families and vulnerable pensioners in Odessa's Jewish population.

In his initial year, Michael taught at Tikva's Jewish University, quickly becoming responsible for all student programs. The Jewish University program serves over 300 young Jews, aged between 17-21, many of whom have grown up in Tikva's orphaned children's homes. Here, they receive a first-class education that combines advanced secular and religious studies with leadership skills development, all of which is accredited by the Crimea State University.  

Michael has been instrumental in expanding the curriculum at the Jewish University to give students greater perspectives on Judaism and the Diaspora. This includes bringing students to Israel. These trips were incredibly exciting for the young Jewish men and women participants, providing inspiration and awakening their spirituality. Without this initiative, they would not have been able to contemplate a visit to the Holy Land.

Since then, Michael's interest in Jewish education and awareness-building in Eastern Europe has seen his involvement in a number of diverse activities. Together with the Conference of European Rabbis, he led a Genesis Foundation program for the Lo Tishkach Foundation (www.lo-tishkach.org), dedicated to preserving and protecting Jewish graves and cemeteries in Europe. Following this, in 2010 Michael established a Holocaust-education program in Odessa that to date has attracted more than 100 participants, regularly attending classes and events designed to remember the millions of Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

More recently, Michael has taken his talents to fundraising to help the Tikva Odessa cause, planning and leading missions for donors and students who come from far and wide to see Tikva's admirable work in person. In 2011, Michael also participated in a Westbury Group capacity building workshop in Kiev. The workshop introduced him to a new network of activists who have similar goals and provided him with critical skills to help advance his work with the Jewish community of Odessa.

Organizational Background: 

Tikva's core mission is to care for the homeless, abandoned and abused Jewish children of Ukraine and neighboring regions of the former Soviet Union. Tikva provides a warm and compassionate home, essential social services and a quality education, while revitalizing the growing Jewish community of Odessa. In addition, Tikva offers its graduates the opportunity for a brighter future through university education in Odessa or immigration to Israel where Tikva continues its educational and supportive services.

Over the years, Tikva has established three orphanages, seven educational institutions, a Jewish community-building program and welfare relief, reaching thousands of needy and unaffiliated Jews weekly.