What are your hobbies? Drawing, playing piano, photography and writing music. The most recent hobby that I’ve really been enjoying, however, is designing and 3D printing everything from functional tools around the house to mezuzah cases and face shields.
What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others? My gap year in Israel was an amazing experience. I was able to travel all around the country and see so many different warm and welcoming communities. There’s something very special about Israel that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world.
Why did you choose Cleveland? I was born and raised in Cleveland, and it is the only place I’ve ever lived outside of my year in Israel. Having said that, Cleveland is a very warm and welcoming community that is very affordable to live in and has great shuls and schools. It is also located perfectly to allow my wife and I to visit family in Chicago, New York and Maryland.
What nonprofit organizations do you affiliate with beyond donating? Synagogues are the heart of a Jewish community so I am very involved in my shuls. I’ve served on the shomrim security team at Young Israel of Greater Cleveland for 10 years and started the Holy Rollers, which is a group dedicated to helping bring people to shul who can’t walk there.
Do you have an Israel experience? I spent my gap year in Israel at Mevaseret Zion Yeshiva, which was a great experience. I traveled the country and was even able to write my own Megillat Esther, which we read from on Purim.
What role does Judaism play in your everyday life? Judaism is a part of everything I do. It is the structure by which I live my life and my moral compass.
Who are your mentors? I have many mentors in my day-to-day life. The mentors I turn to the most, however, are my parents. They help me with everything from work advice to home DIY projects.
What Jewish groups were you involved in? I was involved in Bnei Akiva and NCSY in high school, and Hillel during my college years. I really enjoyed being a part of all these groups because they had a diverse group of Jews with many different life experiences. I was able to learn and grow from the people I met and gain a wider perspective of the Jewish world.
What was your first reaction when you learned you were selected as a 12 Under 36 honoree? I was quite honestly very surprised. There are so many people who do amazing things in the Jewish community so I am just honored to be able to help in any way I can.
What did you want to be when you “grew up”? I always had a feeling that I wanted to be an engineer. Math and science were my favorite classes and K’nex was my favorite toy. My sisters and I would spend hours building large Ferris wheels and roller coasters. We also had competitions to see who could make the most robust cars and then roll them down the stairs to see which car was the best.
Where was your bar mitzvah? Young Israel of Greater Cleveland.
What is your nickname? Yoey, based on a family member nicknamed Big Yo.
You’re a professional athlete and just sign your first major contract. What’s the first big expenditure you make? Buying a house in Israel.
What is your biggest pet peeve? Being late.
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.
Stanislav, 35, is a member of the Chabad Jewish Center of Solon and resides in Beachwood.
Rachel, 30, is a member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation and resides in Cleveland Heights.