NJP (Nice Jewish Person) Kevin Yavno

Each month, The Well highlights an amazing (and eligible!) individual.
This month, we have a conversation with NJP Kevin Yavno!

TW: You have the distinct honor of being our first Canadian featured! What's it like living in Windsor and working in Detroit? Are you a tunnel or bridge kind of guy?

KY: It’s an honour to be the first Canadian featured. Living in Windsor and working in Detroit let’s me enjoy the best of both countries. I get to enjoy everything Detroit has to offer during the week, and retreat to the relative tranquility of Windsor in the evenings and weekends. I’ve lived in Windsor my whole life and I highly recommend visiting to everyone. We have some amazing restaurants and the view is much better from our side of the river. I am a tunnel guy. I have to go through customs everyday, but I still have a shorter commute than most of my co-workers.

TW: You're currently a software engineer for Amazon -- what do you actually do day-to-day at work?

KY: Well, unfortunately I can’t give too many details. I can say that my job is to make sure that whatever it is that you want when you go to Amazon is available for you to buy at a low price. I do this by building tools that help businesses sell their items on Amazon more efficiently and competitively. Day to day I write a lot of code, go to meetings, and help design the systems that work behind the scenes at Amazon.

TW: You went on Birthright Israel last year with the Detroit Federation's community trip -- what was that experience like for you? Highlights?

KY: It was an amazing experience. It was my first time visiting Israel and I definitely want to go back as soon as possible. I was lucky that the Detroit community allowed me to tag along with them since I was technically supposed to go with a Canadian group. I really loved the history of the country and visiting all the ancient locations in person. My favourite part of the trip was all the markets we visited, especially the one in Jaffa. I also had a lot of fun going river rafting with everybody. After the trip ended I stayed with my brother in Eilat and we took a trip to Petra, Jordan to see the ancient city, which was absolutely incredible.


TW: What are your three favorite things to do in your free time?

KY: My three favourite things to do are cooking, playing the piano, and traveling. I love cooking. There’s nothing like making delicious food whenever you want. Currently, my signature dish is New York cheesecake, but I also have a killer chicken wing recipe. I have been playing the piano since I was 6 years old. I used to play all classical but when I stopped taking lessons, I starting playing more modern music. I’m currently working on Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I also love traveling and flying, I am planning to get my pilot’s license. I try to travel as much as I can.

TW: Where would you most like to travel to that you haven't visited?

KY: In terms of seeing new things, I would really like to visit China and Japan. I think that there’s so much culture and history there and it would be amazing to see it in person. If my goal is to relax, my kind of vacation involves a beach, sun, and lots of cold drinks.

TW: What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

KY: I’m going to go with Purim. My Hebrew School always had a Purim carnival where we would all compete in mini games for prizes. I have some very fond childhood memories from those carnivals.

TW: Who is the coolest Jew?

KY: In my humble opinion: Mel Blanc. He is the man of 1000 voices including all your favourite Looney Tunes characters.  

TW: If you could add an 11th commandment what would it be?

KY: “Thou shalt empathize with thy neighbor.” Empathy is something I feel that the majority of people lack. I think seeing things from other people’s point of view can go a long way towards solving problems in this world.

TW: How about a fun fact?

KY: I can solve a Rubik’s cube in under a minute.

TW: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well...

KY: I'm able to think about the modern world from a Jewish perspective and meet others who are like me!