Avi & Joe were born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. They met 17 years ago in a high school Spanish class. Joe moved to Los Angeles six years ago to expand his advertising business, while Avi is still in Brooklyn and teaching at the same high school where they met.
They are both proud of their similar Jewish upbringings. Joe describes himself as the stereotypical "New York Jew." Their similar characteristics are their knowledge and appreciation of the same Yiddish expressions and their love of the Mets.
Joe describes himself as Jerry Seinfeld meets Yoda (with Donald Trump's business flair) and says Avi is George Costanza meets Napoleon. However, Avi sees himself more as Woody Allen and sees Joe as Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo."
They both agree that one of their most memorable times together was meeting Avi's childhood idol, Tom Wopat, after a Broadway play. Although the distance between New York and Los Angeles prevents their weekly kibbitz sessions at the local kosher deli, they make up for it by spending many hours talking on the phone.
Their motivation for going on THE AMAZING RACE is to spend quality time together, to challenge themselves and to win the $1 million.
How would you describe your previous travel experience?
What is the most stressful aspect of traveling?
- Avi: I have done some travel, mainly with my family: Canada, western and southern US, and I had my bar mitzvah in Israel. In recent years, I have been to England and France to compete in martial arts tournaments and to Alaska so I could experience the wilderness.
- Joe: I've seen the vast majority of this country: every region, about 35 states in all (including a New York to California drive). As far as international, I've only hit Europe once, but saw the two coolest cities there (Amsterdam and Belgium). Had a croissant in Charles de Gaulle Airport. Been to west Mexico on a cruise, and was in the Dominican Republic for my honeymoon.
Why did you want to be on THE AMAZING RACE?
- Avi: Making flights on time. Ever since 9/11, it's such a hassle, especially the security. Do I look like a terrorist? Get real.
- Joe: I love traveling and find it relaxing. Only stressful things are trying to pack everything to do in whatever time we are there. Crowded airplanes are annoying. Otherwise, I'm such a workaholic and have such a hands-on business that the most stressful thing about being on vacation is forgetting about work or checking my email.
Have you and your partner traveled together before? If so, what was it like?
- Avi: Looks like it's going to be a fantastic adventure, and we can win it.
- Joe: I can't sing, dance or act, but I AM a character. Reality TV is perfect for a guy like me. Besides, I get to travel the world with my best friend, and have a chance to win a huge prize without kissing Trump's tush.
What do you fear most about competing in THE AMAZING RACE?
- Avi: No. First time for everything. I'm sure we'll be great.
- Joe: It's weird, but in 17 years of friendship, Avi and I have never even taken a day trip together. This will be a long-overdue bonding vacation.
What strengths and weaknesses do you bring to the Team?
- Avi: Getting eliminated first.
- Joe: If I feared anything, I wouldn't be running THE AMAZING RACE. That said, I hope that I don't face a challenge with unkosher food, because I'm NOT compromising how I've lived my live, even for a million dollars.
What strengths and weaknesses does your teammate bring to the Team?
- Avi: My main strengths are my logical mind and physical ability. I'm an excellent driver and very good with directions. My partner is the "people person." I'll be running them over; he'll be picking them up. My weakness is that sometimes I'm too gung-ho with my first idea about something. I don't take the time to see all the options.
- Joe: Strengths: amazing eyesight, eye for details, memory and sense of direction, and awesome skills at negotiation and persuasion. Weaknesses: I'm not the most athletic guy in the world, but I've been working with a trainer for almost two years, so it's time to see what I'm made of.
What will you miss the most from home (besides your bed)?
- Avi: Joe's best attribute is his ability to finesse things out of people. I'm only good with women and waiters; he's good with everyone, period. Joe's a holistic thinker and an excellent planner. He can see all the stuff I don't. Additionally, he's always been my moral compass; seems like I lost mine years ago.
- Joe: Avi is the more athletic of the two of us, and is a solid runner. He has patience and can be very charming to strangers. Most important, he's the devil to my angel: if we have to do something sneaky and cutthroat, then he's the man for the job. Avi's only weakness will be if I lose my comb, because that little bald man clearly won't be carrying a spare.
What languages do you speak?
- Avi: My daughter. I speak to her every day. I can't imagine not hearing her voice say, "Daddy" for a whole month. I love her so much. It's going to be torture.
- Joe: I'll miss having Kosher food, the Mets, my friends and family (no matter how wacky they are), my really cool apartment at the beach, and yes, wifey (my new bride, Sharon), I'll miss you too.
What destination are you hoping to visit?
- Avi: English, a lot of Spanish, some Yiddish (which is like German), a bit of French and Russian, too.
- Joe: I can speak enough Spanish to be conversational, and just enough Yiddish to be funny in a Catskills kind of way.
What country do you feel best prepared for?
- Avi: Anything eastern. I do both Chinese and Japanese martial arts, so I hoping to visit those countries. I'd love to sit with the llamas in Tibet. And I'd really like to go to Peru and Costa Rica or Brazil to see the rain forest before it disappears.
- Joe: I'm hoping to see Japan, which I think is the most beautiful country out there. Italy would be cool, too.
- Avi: Any place they speak Spanish; it'll be easier for me to understand them. Also, any wild cities, like Bangkok. We're both city boys, the concrete jungle is our native element.
- Joe: The only countries I feel prepared for are all the countries I mentioned that I've been to. If we go there, hopefully, things will look familiar, and Avi and I will have an advantage.