What does being a member of the Jewish community mean to you?
To me, it means I have a support network of people and organizations that help me and my family live a great Jewish life, and in return I get to be a part of that network for others.
What Jewish organizations are you involved with?
Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Young Leadership Division, Gross Schechter Day School, Mandel JCC and the Cleveland Jewish News
Why do you stay involved in the Jewish community?
Because it has enhanced just about every aspect of my life. I grew up a part of our Jewish community, made friends and met my wife through it. My career and professional development have been helped greatly through the relationships I have within our community, and my kids benefit from the programming and community environment that we have available to us today. Being involved gives me the opportunity to help others have the same experience.
How do your friends and family shape your Jewish involvement?
I’ve been volunteering with Federation since high school, so I think my parents set me on a path there that stuck with me. Getting involved with YLD was a great way for me to hang out with friends while also shaping the programming available to Jewish young professionals in Cleveland, and it has put me in position where I can take my friends ideas and try to turn them into reality, so they definitely shape my involvement in a big way. I have also been involved with Gross Schechter Day School since moving back to Cleveland, first as an alumnus and now I get to see things from the perspective of a parent. So now my kids are shaping my involvement too.
What non-Jewish organizations are you involved with and why?
I regularly attend events through a number of professional organizations in the finance and M and A business world, including the Association for Corporate Growth and the Commercial Finance Association. I’m also involved with Cleveland Bridge Builders. The professional organizations are great ways to stay in touch with business contacts and expand my network, and Bridge Builders was a really fantastic opportunity to improve my leadership skills, and more important to meet people across a number of different Cleveland communities and organizations that I wouldn’t have been likely to meet otherwise.
Why is CJN Tomorrow important and what do you hope to accomplish through it?
I think it’s always important for businesses to resist getting complacent, so I think CJN Tomorrow is a great example of the CJN taking the time to think about the future and not just the present. The media world is changing rapidly, so spending time to learn more about the readers who will support the CJN for the next several decades is very important. I hope I can do my part to help the CJN produce more content and programming that appeals to younger readers and increases its profile in our community.
What do you like about the Cleveland Jewish News?
I think the CJN plays a unique role in tying our Jewish community together. For an 80,000-person community, we have an incredible number of groups and organizations that each have their own events, activities and goals. The CJN makes it possible for me to be involved with just a few of them, but still see all of the great things that others are doing around town.
What is your favorite activity to do in Cleveland?
On my own – biking through the Chagrin Valley area. With my family – taking my kids to any of the East Side playgrounds. With friends – drinking scotch, beer, bourbon at Lizardville. With my wife – literally anything that involves going out at night while someone else watches our children.
What is your favorite Jewish tradition?
Growing up, my dad would give my brothers and me each a blessing before Shabbat dinner on Friday nights. Now that I have two daughters, being able to carry on that tradition with them has been really meaningful to me.
Have you been to Israel?
Yes, three times. I’m planning to go again this summer as a co-chair of YLD’s Weinberg Mission to Israel from June 25-July 1. It’s an amazing trip for people in YLD’s age range (22-45) and anyone who is interested should definitely contact me.
What is your favorite Israel moment?
My first time seeing the Kotel in person on my eighth-grade class trip. It was surreal to have spent so many years seeing and learning about a place, and then finally getting to experience being there in person.
What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
Purim – we’re literally commanded to drink heavily, I’m not sure which other religions can say that they have a holiday like that.
What is your favorite Jewish food?
Were you involved in a Jewish youth organization?
I was involved in BBYO, which I guess you could say had an impact on my life since I met my wife at one of our conventions.