Melissa, 33, is an associate at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz and the vice mayor of the city of Cleveland Heights. A Cleveland Heights resident and member of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, she is a fifth-generation resident of Northeast Ohio. She has roots in Cleveland and wants to do her part to make sure that Cleveland and her community remain strong for future generations.
What are your hobbies?
I n my free time, I very much enjoy traveling, hiking, Korean cooking, and reading.
What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others?
Family Shabbat dinners.
If you were the mayor of Cleveland, what would be your highest priority?
I would focus on poverty and the factors that perpetuate it across generations, including access to a quality public education, public health, economic development and affordable housing.
Do you have an Israel experience?
I have visited Israel four times. My first experience was in high school on a tour with my family, mere weeks before the second intifada. I visited again in college with Birthright and in law school with a similar program. Finally, I visited Israel after law school with my family for a wedding.
What role does Judaism play in your everyday life?
Judaism’s values of responsibility, integrity and community guide me in all of my actions.
Who are your mentors?
I am blessed to have had many strong women mentor and guide me throughout the years, particularly my mother Paulette Balin Yasinow and my grandmothers Marcia Yasinow and Jeanine Balin, both of blessed memory. In my political work, I am grateful to former Cleveland Heights Councilwoman Bonnie Caplan.