Although he works full time as a physical therapist, Baltimore native Yisroel Juskowicz feels his greatest strength lies in his creativity in music, art, and writing.
“The art came first,” says Juskowicz. “It all started with a caricature business from my locker when I was in seventh grade, as well as drawing caricatures of my teachers during class. It was always fun — that is, until I got caught!” His oeuvre eventually grew into drawing and painting professionally, especially Judaica, as well as family portraits.
Next came the writing. “A girl I was once dating once said to me, ‘Yisroel, you are an expressive guy. Why don’t you try writing a book one day?’ Needless to say, the girl didn’t work out, but the writing did,” he says. That night, Juskowicz started writing his first book, “The Hidden Path,” which explores Jewish spirituality. It was published seven years later.
He has also put out two CDs of Jewish music and performs as well, “but my Jewish mother made sure I never quit my day job,” he jokes.
Juskowicz currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and came out with his second book in 2018. This one is on the Jewish holidays and is called “For Every Season.”
Fill in the blank: You’re never fully dressed without a _______.
Coffee in my hand and cell phone in my pocket.
What brings you joy?
Spending time with my two beautiful children.
What is your favorite Rosh Hashanah tradition?
I like the tradition of eating many exotic fruits and saying unique prayers over each of them on Rosh Hashanah.
If you could be a pro at an instrument you’ve never tried before, what would it be?
I wish I knew how to play piano. I have a keyboard sitting in my living room untouched, waiting for me to finally find the time to play.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I love the outdoors, and now that the weather is nice, I try to go biking every day.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Sukkot, one of my favorite holidays.
What is your weakness?
My greatest weakness is that I am all over the place! Often it is hard for me to focus and finish a project. ADD is often part of being a creative person.
Fill in the blank: Your friends would say, “Yisroel is my go-to person for _______.”
My go-to person to relax and chill out with.
This interview was originally published in Kol HaBirah: Voice of the Capital and appears here with permission.