What are your hobbies? Its hard to pinpoint a specific hobby, but what I can tell you is that I love creating and building things, whether it’s my garden, working on my house, building Legos with my son, nonprofits, businesses, relationships, etc. Your down time is spent building things up.

What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others? By far, the most impactful experience for me was going to Israel on Birthright when I was 26. I was engaged to my wife at the time, but the connection, experience and overall sense of belonging made me feel a part of something larger – and the pride that I walked away with is something I carry with me to this day for being a part of Judasim.

Why did you choose Cleveland? Cleveland built its roots in the 1800s as an innovation powerhouse. I see Cleveland as the same innovative hub that it was in the 1800s. I found my passion in entrepreneurship, built a network, got civically involved and realize that everyone and everything is accessible. There is no stronger Jewish community than in CLE – creating that sense of belong.

What nonprofit organizations do you affiliate with beyond donating? The Karen Foundation for Multiple Scleroris, Engage Cleveland, Jewish Federation of Cleveland / Young Leadership Division and the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company.

Do you have an Israel experience? My birthright trip at 26, when I was engaged to my wife, Lindsay, was an eye-opener on two levels. First, the connection between any Jew in the world and having a place, a physical location to call home. There are deep roots there and it is a magical place in that sense. The second was the separation between the religious aspects and cultural aspects.

What was your first reaction when you learned you were selected as a 12 Under 36 honoree? Receiving any type of award is a huge honor. I was very flattered, humbled and thankful to have incredible people around me. But I also see what 2020 and the impact of COVID-19, social injustice and anti-Semitism is having on the world. My first reaction is how can we, the 12 of us and everyone reading this, make the world a better place for all.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer – just like my grandfather.

Meet the honorees

Doug, 33, is a member of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and resides in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. 

Jamie Collins, 28, is a member of the Temple-Tifereth Israel and resides in Cleveland Heights. 

Joseph (Yoey), 29, is a member of Young Israel of Greater Cleveland and Green Road Synagogue and resides in Beachwood. 

Stanislav, 35, is a member of the Chabad Jewish Center of Solon and resides in Beachwood.

Kevin, 33, is a member of Park Synagogue and resides in Solon. 

Claire, 26, is a member of Beth El Congregation and resides in Cleveland.  

Sam, 31, is a member of Temple Israel-Ner Tamid and resides in Cleveland 

Rachel, 30, is a member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation and resides in Cleveland Heights. 

Sara, 32, is a member of Green Road Synagogue and resides in Beachwood. 

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