Adam, 32, is the executive director at Hillel at Kent State University, where he learns and develops a personal relationship with Israel through conversations with students and staff on campus on a daily basis. A Solon resident and member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, he sees Israel as a very polarizing topic on campus, which has pushed him to grow, adapt, advocate and lead.
What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others?
On campus, we talked a lot about Jewish journeys. The story I usually share is from my senior year at Ohio University when my housemates and I hosted a Passover seder in our house. I remember the friendship, laughter, respect to ritual and hard work. We wanted to do it right. Leading that seder for 20 of my best friends was a defining moment in my Jewish identity.
Why did you choose Cleveland?
This was never a question for me. I always knew I would be in Cleveland and raise my family here. I loved growing up on the East Side in Lyndhurst. My wife Erica has the same pride for Cleveland and strong family ties to the area. We are very lucky to have our parents, grandparents and loved ones so close.
If you were the mayor of Cleveland, what would be your highest priority?
Put a roof on the stadium. As a season ticket holder, I have incredible memories of snowy, freezing cold games with family. I would happily give that up for the upside to the city to host larger events year-round and to feel my toes at December home games.
What nonprofit organizations do you affiliate with beyond donating?
Jewish Federation of Cleveland young leadership division board member, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation board member.
What role does Judaism play in your everyday life?
I pride myself in not just being a leader of a Jewish organization, but to be a values-driven, Jewish leader. At home, it has been fun experiencing Judaism through our 16-month-old daughter’s eyes. She loves Shabbat and the PJ Library books we get each month.
Who are your mentors?
The people that stand out are my family and also my supervisors throughout my career. I’ve taken key things from all of them and appreciate all of the wisdom, values and time they have shared with me.