Michael Brodman was born in 1982 in Israel and 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 certificate, he travelled to Odessa with his wife and three young children to work for Tikva, a humanitarian organization based in the Ukraine that provides lifesaving services for orphans, destitute families and vulnerable pensioners of Odessa’s Jewish population.
Michael taught at Tikva Jewish University, quickly becoming responsible for all student programs. The Jewish University program serves over 300 young Jews (ages 17-21), many of whom have grown up in Tikva orphaned children homes. 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 Tikva 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, dedicated to preserving and protecting Jewish graves and cemeteries in Europe.