Q&A With Jared Firestone, Alumnus
Where do you live? Hollywood, FL
What is your current profession and where do you work? How did you come to work in this field?
Since graduating law school in 2016, I have spent the past three winters in Lake Placid, NY, and Park City, UT, sliding head-first down mile-long ice tracks at speeds reaching 80 miles per hour. As part of the Team USA Athlete Development Program, I was able to compete in the USA Nationals race each of my three seasons, ranking as high as 12th place in the country. After this past season, I decided I had enough experience under my belt to complete a dream of mine since I was winning relay races at Hillel in Coach Kaplan's PE classes, and scoring touchdowns for Coach David Fried in the MAR-JCC flag football league - competing internationally under the Israeli flag.
As soon as the season ended I filed my application for Israeli citizenship and formally joined the Israel Bobsled & Skeleton Team, which has been around for over 16 years and in 2018 sent its first Olympian to the Winter Games in Skeleton.
During the offseason, I work in South Florida as a Realtor at NextHome Maier & Bar Properties. Although I graduated law school, I realized after working for a short time in the legal field that my passion was in sales and transactions. I wanted to pursue a field within sales that also allowed me to continue to utilize my legal background, and real estate fit that bill.
What educational path did you follow?
After high school I attended Tulane University ('12), where I lettered in Track & Field for four years and earned a B.A. in Philosophy. After college, I attended the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ('16). I am a member of both the Florida and New York Bar Associations, to go along with my Real Estates Sales Associate license in Florida.
What is most rewarding about the work you do? What are the challenges?
Although I won't officially represent Israel on the ice until October, I know the most rewarding part will be wearing the Magen David on my helmet and uniform as I compete around the world. My journey to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Games will take me through multiple countries where the Jewish people have suffered greatly historically and continue to face anti-Semitism today. These include Konigsee, Germany, about 100 miles from the Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp. Or Innsbruck, Austria, just a two hour drive from the Dachau Concentration Camp, as well as the Munich Olympic Village where 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage and killed during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games.
The main challenge to me is a financial one. Between equipment, travel, and coaching, each of the next three seasons will cost me between $25,000 and $30,000 on average. Being unable to work full-time between October and April makes this extra challenging. Almost every athlete in the sport relies primarily on donations and sponsorships in order to complete their seasons.
Slamming into ice walls at 80 miles per hour can be a challenge as well, depending on the day.
What is one essential academic or life skill you honed at Scheck Hillel?
One essential academic skill I honed at Scheck Hillel was logical reasoning. I was first exposed to it in my Grade 7 Talmud class. This way of thinking was extraordinarily useful on the LSAT and throughout law school, particularly in ethics courses.
What is your advice for future Scheck Hillel students who might consider a career in your field?
My advice for future Hillel students who might consider a career in real estate sales is to go to law school. My legal education has certainly shortened my learning curve in the industry and has given me an edge over other Realtors I've worked on transactions with.
If you're considering a career in Bobsled or Skeleton, my advice would be to outwork everyone in the gym and on the track through high school and college, and then go buy a really solid winter jacket before heading up to Lake Placid.
What is the last book you read/podcast you heard that taught you something you didn’t know before?
The last book I read was "The Case for Israel", by Alan Dershowitz. The copy I read was actually one that was given to my sister, Emmy Firestone, from Hillel upon her graduation in 2011. I quickly understood why Hillel gave this book to graduating students just prior to entering college, as it is filled with tons of facts and knowledge every supporter of Israel should be armed with entering college, especially given the current culture and attitudes towards Israel on college campuses across the country today.
To follow my journey to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, you can follow me on Instagram @_jfirestone.If you have any questions, I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org