This is my third column for the Advocate, and it seems like an appropriate time to explain just who I am and why I write this way.

Writing a regular column was not something I really planned. This past March, while celebrating the baptism of my second child, I stood with family and friends and realized that if my kids were to grow up in a safe and secure neighborhood, then I had to take some action immediately.

I had read an article in the March Advocate praising neighborhood code enforcement. Based on my experiences with the City, the article struck a negative cord with me, so I called up Rick, the publisher, and said: “Rick, we really have to talk about that #*%@ you published last month!”

Rick said something to the effect of: “Well, maybe you should write a column about it.”

My first column was really great – full of detail, intrigue and pathos. Of course, you should have seen it before Rick and his staff cut it to about 700 words! Behind every great writer, there stands a great editor.

Anyway, I’ve lived in East Dallas since 1980, moving here from Philadelphia. That was preceded by a three-year post-college “vacation,” living in Israel (hence my unusual name), I’ve been living near Lower Greenville almost continuously, which started with me helping renovate a small house in return for some cheap rent. Now, our family owns a house just 150 feet from Greenville Avenue, and past columns not included, it really is not too bad here.

My first roommate, Ed, immediately tried to help me lose my “ak-cent” by teaching me how to talk Texan. He started by picking on my “Jimmy Carter Visits Israel” commemorative T-shirt that read: “Shalom, Y’all.”

Ed told me that real Texans (as opposed to Southerners?) don’t talk like that. Hence, the word “sha’ll” (pronounced “shawl”) was born.

I did eventually get even with Ed for that – he was the best man at my wedding 12 years ago and is godfather to my two daughters. That means if anything happens to my wife and myself, he will be responsible for raising two very, very spoiled children.

After finding that my degree in journalism/public relations meant as much in Dallas as it did in Israel, I started working in local hotels and restaurants. I eventually got out of the hotel business (but not before meeting my wife-to-be, Debbie, at the now-leveled NorthPark Inn) and traded in my apron for a camera.

My big break came when the Dallas Time Herald published my photo of the Willowcreek Apartments fire in early 1982 – five columns across and half a page deep. Now, I finally knew what to do with my life!

Over the years, I have photographed nearly 300 weddings, barmitzvahs and social events of all types (including events in Mexico City and San Francisco). I’ve taken pictures of Richard Nixon, even got some autographed, and went to Germany with the Texas Culinary Olympic Team to capture the moment.

Eventually, an even bigger bug bit me – the computer kind. After stints as a magazine editor, working with Skip Bayless on his fax sports newsletter and spending some time with an accounting firm, I am now a graphic designer for a printing center in Oak Lawn. My biggest challenge today is getting my web page to look as cool as everyone else’s.

My wife Debbie is a legal secretary at a large downtown law firm, and we have two absolutely drop-dead gorgeous daughters (not from my side of the family, I can tell you). Simcha is 4 years old and runs a gang in her daycare center, and Shoshana is almost 6 months old and watching every move big sister Simi makes.

Rick said I probably could have this space every few months, so I am brainstorming even as you read for my next piece. I would like to hear from you. Write me in care of the Advocate or e-mail me at

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