Today, Jonah is a multitalented artist who has performed in the Broadway blockbuster “Wicked” on tour and in multiple TV series, including “Parenthood” and “The Office” and has written for the animated hit “Family Guy” and sitcoms “Running Wilde” and “Parks and Recreation,” among others. Also a director, he created the stage show “One Night Stand: An Improvised Musical.”
He says his performing career truly began at Sinai Akiba. “When I was in kindergarten, I wrote a song for my teacher, Liz Rifkin, and choreographed my class to perform it,” he says. Jonah also remembers music specialist Ruti Breyer, who led singing for lower school students. “She would come in with her guitar and we would sing. It gave us a way to have fun making Jewish music together,” he says. In sixth grade, Jonah formed his first band, inspired by language arts teacher Mrs. Glorioso, who encouraged the band to play at the middle school dances. “He took us seriously and empowered us to believe in ourselves, set our own pace, and go as far as we could go,” Jonah says.
All of these experiences inspired Jonah to pursue a career in entertainment. He studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania before beginning professional gigs writing, acting and directing. Even with a busy schedule, he prioritizes serving the community, with work done through avodat halev (soulful intention), one of the school’s core values. “Giving back at every opportunity has not only proved personally meaningful but has also enhanced my life and career,” he says.
He has supported the Community Security Initiative at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, which helps ensure that Jewish schools, synagogues and institutions remain safe. Most recently, he shared his time and talents at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts, part of the Baltimore Jewish Community Center. “Artists are needed for these events to bring people together and I’m proud to support Jewish organizations wherever they may be,” he says.
Being Jewish is central to Jonah’s life, and his Sinai Akiba education continues to empower him to perform soulfully and connect with his community.