What are your hobbies? I like to knit, do puzzles, run, read and rock climb.
What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others? Getting to interview Jewish people in Cleveland through the Cleveland Schmooze podcast over the last three years has been a really fun and informative experience. It’s shown me that being Jewish is not just one background, level of faith, or experience. I also learned that we have a large community working to make Cleveland a better place (Publisher’s Note: The CJN is a media partner of the podcast).
Why did you choose Cleveland? I grew up in Chagrin Falls. I remember desperately wanting to leave Ohio after high school to experience the big city life. I did that by living in New York briefly and Washington, D.C., for a few years. But I found that I actually missed the niceness and affordability of the Midwest. And my family lives here. I’ve been back for five years now and I love it.
If you were the mayor of Cleveland, what would be your highest priority? There are a few things I would like to prioritize. I would try to address the cycle of poverty in Cleveland neighborhoods. I would work to desegregate schools. I would also try to provide free or accessible health care for historically disadvantaged communities of color.
What nonprofit organizations do you affiliate with beyond donating? I have volunteered for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Cleveland Kids Book Bank. I have also donated blood for the American Red Cross. I regularly ride in the Cleveland Clinic’s Velosano Bike to Cure that raises money for cancer.
Do you have an Israel experience? I went to Israel with my family and other B’nai Jeshurun Congregation families in 1999. I remember my sister was bat mitzvahed on top of Mount Masada. In college, I rang in the 2010 new year during a Birthright Israel trip. I remember riding the camel was the highlight experience.
What role does Judaism play in your everyday life? I wouldn’t consider myself a very religious Jew, beyond going to high holiday services, but I identify very strongly with Judaism culturally. I think of myself as a Jewish ambassador in my daily interactions with coworkers and friends. I also feel empathy with my fellow Jews when antisemitism makes news headlines.
Who are your mentors? There are several colleagues that I would consider mentors, who have helped guide me into the journalist that I am today. At ideastream, I would name executive editor Mike McIntyre, managing producer Amy Cummings and chief content officer Mark Rosenberger as mentors who continue to help me grow and give me opportunities to shine.
What, if any, Jewish youth groups were you involved in? B’nai Jeshurun United Synagogue Youth was really important to me growing up, because I didn’t have any friends at school who were Jewish. Getting a chance to interact with people who understood my culture helped me better identify with my culture.
What was your first reaction when you learned you were selected as a 12 Under 36 honoree? Yay.
What did you want to be when you “grew up”? When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. Then, I realized I couldn’t act. When I was in college, I wanted to be a film editor, but then I realized I didn’t want to be in a dark room by myself all day. I finally found the right profession and went back to grad school to become a journalist.
You’re a professional athlete and just sign your first major contract. What’s the first big expenditure you make? Travel to Australia
What is your biggest pet peeve? People scratching plates with their silverware.
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.