Jay and Keum-won Kronish were looking for flights out of Korea when the Israeli ambassador called. There was a problem, he told them. Keum-won knew immediately what was wrong—the ambassador had asked her, a Korean native and American resident who’d retired in Israel, to find someone in Busan to lead the city’s first Israeli cultural center. And she had done this—two years ago. Unfortunately, the person she recruited for the position had backed out, leaving the ambassador with a headless operation and many gears already in motion. So he asked her, flat-out, over the phone: Why don’t you and your husband do it?
Jay Kronish, now sitting in the newly-minted Israel House in the Centum City district of Busan, shakes his head in disbelief. “And my wife said yes.”
“Somebody asked me, ‘How many Jews are there in Busan?’” Kronish recalls. “I said, uh… four? I dunno!”
Dude ran around Jerusalem to create a sort-of museum, saw Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, then made the first Holocaust Museum in East Asia. For the full interview and story, look no further than Busan Haps.