This post is part of a weekly series in which we get to know Sifties.
Yoav Schatzberg is a Solutions Engineer who has been with Sift Science for three years. If he could only eat one food for the rest of his life, it would be pizza because it’s versatile — you can have a meat pizza, veggie pizza, pizza without cheese, thin crust, deep dish, etc. Here are his favorite pizza places by category: for a deep dish pizza, Capo’s Chicago Pizza; for a conventional thinner crust, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana; and for a late night slice, Golden Boy Pizza.
What three traits define you?
What skill would you love to learn?
I would love to be fluent in Spanish and French. I know more Spanish than French, but not enough of either. I would choose those because they’re very widely used — I’d get good coverage for places where I can get by with those languages.
Do you speak another language?
I’m fluent in Hebrew, I know enough Spanish to get to a restaurant and order my food, and enough French to upset a French person with my lack of knowledge.
What was your first job?
You were born in Israel and have moved quite a bit in your life. Can you tell me about that?
I was born in Israel, where I lived in a settlement in occupied territory. After that, we moved to California where we lived in Thousand Oaks, Irvine, and then Cupertino. When I was 13 years old, I moved back to the settlement in Israel, and after a couple of years we moved to Jerusalem proper. I moved back to California, specifically Redwood City, where I finished high school. After graduation, I went to community college in Mountain View, and then San Luis Obispo, and then up to San Francisco where I finished my undergrad at San Francisco State University.
Moving between Israel and U.S. was interesting for a variety of reasons. I was fluent enough in Hebrew, but I didn’t read quickly enough for school. I joined a political youth movement that advocated for socialism, which was when I really had a basis of comparison between that and the right-wing nationalism that I had seen.
As far as my identity goes, it’s tricky. I don’t feel like an Israeli, because I don’t mesh with the culture there. At the same time, I’m not really American. Although I mesh better with the culture of Americans, they tend to find me to be blunt and obnoxious, while Israelis find me to be too soft. I feel that I exist between two cultures that are contrarian to each other.