I was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware in a family which immigrated from Eastern Europe in the 1800s and built a number of successful businesses, including cattle ranching in Colorado, a chain of grocery stores in Philadelphia and Wilmington, the largest dry cleaning business in Newark, Delaware, furniture stores, and restaurants. My uncles and father served our country during World War II, when my father built ships for the Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. I was born in 1950, a product of the post World War II baby boom. While it was my father who ingrained in me a strong sense of justice and love for the law, the turbulence of the 1960s also had a profound effect on my life path.
After my undergraduate career at the University of Maryland, I went on to follow in my brother’s footsteps by pursuing a career in law. In 1976, I earned my Juris Doctorate degree from Delaware Law School and joined my brother, Arthur, in the practice of law in Northumberland County. I opened my first law office as a sole practitioner in northeast Philadelphia. Thereafter, I met a prominent attorney in Allentown, Pennsylvania and relocated to the Lehigh Valley to join him in the practice of law.
Shortly after moving to Allentown, I met my wife, Geri, a gifted elementary school teacher to whom I have been married for almost thirty-four years. Geri and I have two wonderful, adult children who have brought us great joy and happiness. My oldest son, Jarret, has pursued a successful career as a businessman and he and my younger son, Jeffrey, will soon be combining their many talents in developing a farmers market in central Pennsylvania. My sister, Suzanne, also earned her teaching degree and married my brother-in-law, Barry Helfand, a prominent lawyer in the Washington DC metropolitan area, whom she began dating when I was only six years old. I now have five nieces and nephews who have become lawyers. I think that’s enough to start our own Bar Association. I am very proud and have truly been blessed.
As I had mentioned earlier, the events of the 1960s impacted me immensely. The assassinations of President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, as well as the War in Viet Nam, have shaped my view of the world in many ways. My sense of obligation to the community contributed to my accepting a role as President of my Synagogue and accepting a position as an Assistant County Solicitor with the Lehigh County Department of Law from 1992 until 2003. During my tenure in that position, I defended numerous cases for the County and prosecuted former criminals who fell delinquent in their obligations to pay fines, costs, and restitution. It is during this time that I became aggressive in the pursuit of victim’s rights, which has shaped my view of the legal system and augmented my love for the law.