Alex Jakubowski was the kid who thought he had everything figured out. He was planning on going to law school, becoming a JAG officer or work in the solicitor generals office but he shortly realized that life has a way of changing your path in ways that you can never expect. Towards the end of his high school career, Alex started getting involved with his high school’s Israeli culture club in Chicago, Illinois (Midwest NCSY), which proved to be a critical venue on his Jewish journey. When Alex began Northwestern University, he made the decision to get more connected to Judaism and there became a strong Israel advocate and Jewish leader. He attended many conferences and programs, such as WUJS Israel, MEOR Israel, and spent two months learning in Israel at Ohr Sameach.
In June of 2013, while Alex was studying abroad in Bolognia, Italy, he began venturing out to the local Jewish community, eventually started spending holidays in various cities in Italy and connecting with communities all over Europe. Being the Jewish leader that he is, Alex started to connect other Jewish students from his program to the European families he met. Shortly after, AEPI contacted Alex and asked him to help their brothers who were abroad and through word of mouth, Alex’s incredible idea spread and rather quickly developed. He is now the founder and executive director of KAHAL: Your Jewish Home Abroad, in which he facilitates transformational Jewish experiences for study abroad students in more than 30 countries around the world and has serviced over 700 Jewish students studying abroad.
Alex started this path by questions how to incorporate Judaism into his life while still being able to travel abroad, he could have never envisioned these results. Alex’s life motto is “Never be afraid to be the solution to a problem. Sometimes in our lives we find clever ways to get around problems and improve our own situation, forgetting that there might be thousands of others in the same situation. Those clever tricks and easy solutions might just improve the lives of others in ways we never could have imagined.” It is clear based on how Alex started his organization that this is something he truly lives by.
Alex’s plan is still to go to law school but for now he is making a difference in the lives of all of 700 students who have used his program and enhancing Jewish communities throughout Europe. Alex doesn’t quite know where life will take him but he says ”as long as I can look back at my life in five years from now and know that I made a difference in people’s lives. Then I’ll know I’ve accomplished my goals.”