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Biography of Sorts

I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952. Although my family was at most traditional, by a strange twist of fate -- in the form of a beloved Yiddish-speaking grandmother who couldn't understand the telephone operator -- I spent eight long years at an ultra-orthodox Jewish day school, where, as the only child of native English-speaking 'Yankees' (I use the term loosely!) in the entire class, I was basically a misfit. I then attended Yeshiva University High School in upper Manhattan, which was, at least from a social standpoint, a somewhat more enjoyable experience.

After completing a BA in math and economics at Queens College, I studied for an M.S. in operations research at Berkeley. In 1982, when I was 30, I moved with my family to Israel

In Israel, I decided to go back to school to obtain an MBA from Hebrew University.

Like most other new immigrants, I was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces, where, at the age of 35, I survived a month-long 'basic training for old people.' Ever since, the teenage conscripts with whom I have done yearly reserve-duty training exercises have found it endlessly amusing whenever I have tried to assume the "you're under attack - throw yourself to the ground and prepare to return fire" position. (Luckily for me, upon becoming a 'semi-old-man' when I hit 45, I was 'semi-retired' from reserve duty.)

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Professional Matters

While living in New York, I worked as an operations research analyst and programmer, first for American Airlines, and then, after AA flew the coop and moved its headquarters to Dallas, for International Paper. Upon moving to Israel, I discovered that there was little in the way of business-related operations research done here. I took a position as a mathematician and systems analyst for a leading Israeli defense contractor, working mainly on a major computer-simulation project. After this project was completed, however, I felt that it was time to move on.

At the time, however, during the mid-eighties, the Israeli software industry was in its infancy, and one basically had a choice of developing payroll applications in COBOL or doing real-time programming for the defense establishment. And so I decided, along with half the country it seemed, to get an MBA. Naturally, in my absence, the software industry took off, while the economy as a whole went into deep recession. I held a series of jobs doing business writing in one form or another, and finally found myself in the proverbial 'job from hell' as a coordinator and writer of business proposals for Aurec (AMDOCS), a leading developer of telephony software.

Finding myself dealing with software developers who were half my age and making twice as much money, I came to the sad realization that I was definitely barking up the wrong tree professionally, and decided to get back into software development. After doing a refresher course to learn about the joys of object-oriented design, I began to work as a programmer myself. I am presently employed as a mathematician for an electro-optics startup.

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My Family

I 'm married and have four children. My wife Nettie worked as a business editor for several years, and came to the conclusion that Israel was not a good place for doing English-language journalism -- the story of how she parted ways with the Jerusalem Post almost sounds like it was lifted from a novel written by a particularly sardonic author. She then did marketing communications for various software firms. Today she's a product manager for a startup that's attempting to be the Red Hat equivalent of a website-development scripting language.

We live in Ramat Modi'im, halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as the crow flies -- technically speaking a settlement, as we're just beyond the '67 border. Our town is also known as Hashmonaim, after the Maccabean heroes who flourished in this area and led the rebellion against the Syriac Greeks during the Second Temple.

(Like most of our neighbors, we had our house built by a private contractor, rather than as part of a development. As therapy after this traumatic experience, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek booklet about the joys of building a house in Israel. An electronic copy is available upon request.)

Our oldest daughter, P'era, is 20, and is a graduate of the excellent Rav Baharan School in Gadera. After spending a year in a special National-Service-abroad program at a Jewish day school in Silicon Valley, she began Bar-Ilan University, where she's majoring in 'cognitive sciences,' a bio-psych program. Last spring, Avital (Tali for short) graduated Tsfira, a high school for girls affiliated with the Bnai Akiva movement, and located just off the runways of Ben-Gurion Airport. She chose to join the army rather than do National Service, and is stationed at a base north of Tel Aviv. Yehezkel is in 11th grade at a new high school in Alonei Habashan, in the furthest reaches of the Golan Heights. And our most recent arrival, Hedva, just turned six. (Becoming a parent after the age of 40 is not for the faint-hearted!).

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Interesting Links
I assume that you aren't interested in a laundry list of every site I've ever visited, so let me just note the following:

metacrawler, a useful search tool:
IMHO, metacrawler, which combines the search results of several search engines, is extremely effective

moviecritic, a useful entertainment selection tool:
moviecritic, which utilizes artificial intelligence to 'learn' one's preferences in movies, is a good place to visit if you want to see a movie, but don't know what's worthwhile seeing.

online sources for Jewish studies:
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