What are your hobbies? Anything active: running, biking, yoga, interval training (Shaun T’s Insanity is my favorite). I love reading and try to read one book a month. I’m very into food, cooking and eating, and I pride myself on being an adventurous eater. I love to travel and plan trips – that’s something I’ve really been missing. I’m also learning to play the Ukulele.
What one Jewish experience of yours stands out over others? Through my work at jHUB, I staff the Honeymoon Israel trips from Cleveland, and last year I was able to bring my fiance, who had never traveled to Israel before. I have been to Israel many times, but being able to visit with him was like seeing the country for the first time again. Sharing that experience together had a real impact on us both.
Why did you choose Cleveland? Two things brought me to Cleveland: my (now) fiance and finding a job at jHUB.
If you were the mayor of Cleveland, what would be your highest priority? I would create a task force of community leaders and activists to take a strategic look at the city’s budget to determine where money could be reallocated to better serve our community, specifically focusing on enhancing public health and education.
What non-profit organizations do you affiliate with beyond donating? I am on the advisory board of the Jewish Lakewood Alliance and Mitsui Collective. I am a JFNA NextGen Fellow, and I am also on the ritual committee for Bend the Arc national. I work with the Oberlin College alumni recruiting network and do interviews with prospective and interested students in the Cleveland area.
Do you have an Israel experience? I have been fortunate to have been able to travel to Israel many times.
What role does Judaism play in your every-day life? As a Jewish professional one of the things I think about constantly is how to take an ancient tradition like Judaism and translate it in a way that makes it meaningful in the modern world. How can we retain the sacred elements of Judaism and apply them to the profane world that we exist in? To me, Judaism is a framework for how you view the world.
Who are your mentors? LeBron James
What was your first reaction when you learned you were selected as a 12 Under 36 honoree? I was honored and humbled.
What did you want to be when you “grew up”? I shuffled through a lot of things but there was a period of time when I was young when I was really into weather and wanted to be a meteorologist. I think this was probably all inspired by the movie ‘Twister’ in the mid 90s starring Helen Hunt.
You’re a professional athlete and just sign your first major contract. What’s the first big expenditure you make? A fully restored 1963 Buick Riviera.
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.
Rachel, 30, is a member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation and resides in Cleveland Heights.