Who the Folk?! Yitzy Kasowitz

Welcome to “Who the Folk?!” Every week on Monday we feature a new member of the community as our “Person of the Week.” Last week week we got to know Liz Apple. This week meet Yitzy Kasowitz! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected]

TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?

Yitzy: I was born in Brooklyn, NY. When I was 6 months old, we moved to Des Moines, IA where my parents ran the Jewsish Student Center across the street from Drake University. They sent me here when I was seven as the Jewsish education there was severely lacking. Realizing my younger siblings also needed a better education, my father found a replacement and my family joined me a few years later.

TCJ: You just launched JBrick, offering custom Jewish LEGO sets. Um, that’s awesome! What more can you tell us about it?

Yitzy: I believe G-d makes everything happens for a reason. I landed a job at Brickmania in NE Minneapolis as an Expert Builder which makes custom LEGO sets. Working directly under the owner, Daniel Siskind, I have been able to hone my building technique and design skills. All of my larger creations there have been featured in museums. This simply translates into tapping into the Jewish market. The incredible thing about this is, the pieces are really LEGO! Top quality, nothing but the best! I refuse to make something similar with some knock-off LEGO compatible product.

TCJ: First this. What’s next? Tell us your plans for world domination.

Yitzy: I got my first LEGO set when I was about 4 and never looked back. I released my first custom set on jbrick.com Dec. 2nd about 2am and word is getting out quick! 16 sets sold on the first day with immediate requests for wholesale. There is nothing like this on the market. If all goes well, G-d willing, I will continue to release new sets.

TCJ: Are you involved in any other TC organizations?

Yitzy: I volunteer at the Saint Paul JCC as a Martial Arts instructor for Karate North under Master, Mike Madden. Class is a few times a week and I have been with Karate North at the JCC for about 22 years. Now my 9 year old son comes to class with me. I love it and all the people there.

TCJ: We’re taking an informal survey. Which of the many Jewish summer camps gets you most ferklempt?

Yitzy: I never wanted to go to camp. I just wanted to stay home and play LEGO all day long. My family and friends can attest to this.

TCJ: What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?

Yitzy: Shabbat candles my wife and two daughters lit on a white table cloth. Sitting and eating with family and guests, singing Shabbat songs and reviewing the weekly Torah portion with my children.

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Yitzy: Everything my wife makes? Because it’s yummy!? Fresh Challah and chicken soup. You can’t go wrong!

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Yitzy: Chanukah. Besides the Shabbat during the holiday, it’s non restrictive. I can still work and come home to light my Menorah with my family (the real one, not the LEGO). Everyone knows about it, we play Dreidel, eat yummy latkes, have parties. What’s not to like?

TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What’s your favorite memory?

Yitzy: After eight years of working and living alone, I decided I needed a vacation. Could not think of a better place to go than Israel. I went with Birthright which is for 12 days I believe, but extended my stay for a full month! I went scuba diving in Elat for a week, and stayed in the old city in Jerusalem for a week. Those are some wonderful memories I won’t soon forget. It was so hard to leave.

TCJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in the Cities?

Yitzy: The ability to be able to just take my family and just go on a pontoon boat, or sledding, or to the park. We take it for granted. In a place like NY, it’s not so simple. The grass really is greener here!

TCJ: What else do you do for fun?

Yitzy: I like to go roller skating. Yes skating, not blading. I like to go skiing or sled dogging (really short skiis), soccer and I like to play my bass guitar, hand drums and piano.

TCJ: Give us one more reason why you’re folking awesome! 

Yitzy: Oh gosh. Ummm, well my kids think I’m a, “silly Tatty.” Hey, if it makes them smile, I’m good with that!

Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!