2012 Double Chai in the Chi

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Joel Holland

River North resident Joel Holland’s passion for people, meeting their practical needs and for living a Jewish life earned him two enthusiastic nominations.

Joel spends his days (and sometimes evenings) working as a brokerage manager at Homescout Realty, where he helps find people places to live and helps them prepare to buy homes. He is president of the Associate Board of Bin Donated, an organization that places bins in apartment and business buildings around Chicago to collect items for the needy, and has helped host Birthright Israel Next events in which volunteers sorted donated items for Bin Donated and other community service groups. He co-hosts a Jewish Perspective Studies class led by Rabbi Ezra Belsky, Komimiyus, The North Shore Torah Center.

Amy Green Sayegh, a friend, said: “Joel’s work brings him into contact with many people new to the city, and through his full-service business, he can help them find a home, a job, and friends … when you get to know him, you know that he is always thinking and helping people.

“Joel’s ideas and ability to make things happen are what have made him so successful already,” she said.

Joel Holland


Pays the bills:
Brokerage Manager at Homescout Realty

On the side:
President of the Bin Donated Associate Board. Co-hosts a Jewish Perspective Studies class at Komimiyus, The North Shore Torah Center.

Relationship status:
Spoken for

Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Can never sit still and always smiling

Celebrity doppelganger:
Fred Savage (Wonder Years days) and Jesse Metcalfe

How do you Jew in Chicago?
I attend as many young leadership events as possible, co-host a Jewish prospective studies class for young professionals every other Tuesday, and I am a board member of the new JIF (Jewish Illini Friends) for University of Illinois Alumni in Chicago. I also stopped working Saturdays to respect the Sabbath, which is a VERY hard task as a real estate agent. This has allowed me to attend more Shabbat dinners, and recharge for the week full of events.

Helping my friends and family live easier, healthier and happier lives through charitable involvement, eating healthy, staying active and being a reliable resource for friends through my career. I demonstrate my increasing passion for Judaism by hosting events and, for my Jewish clients; I either plant a tree in Israel on their behalf or present them with a Mezuzah for their new home. I relax with my backpack and passport traveling.

How do you give back?
In addition to my current activities, I am increasing my donation gift amounts and adding gifts to a new organization.

Fill in the blank: If time and money were limitless, I would:
buy a cruise ship, fill it with my friends and family and cruise the world. I would also like to sponsor a similar idea to the Jewish Prospective Studies class I do in major cities throughout the world to spur involvement and Jewish learning.

Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
I truly am optimistic that today’s young leadership participants will be hosting Shabbat dinners. Chabad houses in Bucktown and Gold Coast will double in involvement and River North will have new leaders that provide a haven for continual learning, and there will be larger than ever groups of Chicago-based Israel missions, and ample programs to keep rising leaders active and involved post-Birthright.

Me in 10 years:
I hope to be living in Chicago, to be a mentor to the past 10 years of Double Chai in the Chi honorees, and be a donor to a local Jewish learning center in addition to the organizations I already support. Additionally, I hope to have children at that point who will be well on their way to be the future Double Chai in the Chi.