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Transcript of interview with Daryl Alterwitz by Barbara Tabach, November 8, 2014






Interview transcript with Daryl Alterwitz by Barbara Tabach on November 8, 2014. In this interview Daryl Alterwitz, son of Deanne and Oscar Alterwitz, recalls moving to Las Vegas from Gary, Indiana, for his parents' pursuits in the furniture business. He speaks about his schooling at Valley High School, his friendship with Robert Engel, and attending University of California Santa Cruz, and taking a leave of absence to travel through Asia. Alterwitz became more involved in Judaism after his bar mitzvah, and has continued his religious affiliation throughout his adult life, and has traveled to Israel twice. He talks about meeting his former wife, his travels through Europe, and coming back to Las Vegas after some time in Reno.

In 1959, Daryl Alterwitz was born in Gary, Indiana, son of Oscar and Deanne Alterwitz. When he was thirteen years old, his family moved to Las Vegas to capitalize on new opportunities in the growing city, and his parents purchased Walker Furniture soon after their arrival. As a high school student, Daryl experienced a powerful trip to Israel, which strengthened his connection to Judaism. After graduation from Valley High School, Daryl attended the University of California - Santa Cruz, and after two years of study, Daryl took time off to travel throughout South Asia, accompanied by close childhood friend Robert Engel. He returned after a year and graduated with an independent major in classical studies. From there, Daryl spent more time in Israel living on a kibbutz. Daryl next went to law school at Santa Clara University, and then supplemented his education with a degree in taxation from New York University School of Law. Between law school and New York, he met his wife, Teri Shoofey; they two had two children, though are now divorced. After New York, he returned to Nevada, first living in Reno. After his father passed away, Daryl moved back to Las Vegas, and took on more responsibility with the family business as well as practicing law. Daryl?s commitment to community service is enduring and visible. He has donated his time and resources to both Jewish organizations, like Jewish Family Services, and non-Jewish groups, like Las Vegas Rescue Mission. He has also served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Congregation Ner Tamid, and the Anti-Defamation League. Daryl also continues to indulge his passion for international travel, having visited Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Cambodia, and has even biked from Hungary to Poland.

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Daryl Alterwitz oral history interview, 2014 November 08. OH-02180. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH DARYL ALTERWITZ An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach The Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 1959, Daryl Alterwitz was born in Gary, Indiana, son of Oscar and Deanne Alterwitz. When he was thirteen years old, his family moved to Las Vegas to capitalize on new opportunities in the growing city, and his parents purchased Walker Furniture soon after their arrival. As a high school student, Daryl experienced a powerful trip to Israel, which strengthened his connection to Judaism. After graduation from Valley High School, Daryl attended the University of California ? Santa Cruz, and after two years of study, Daryl took time off to travel throughout South Asia, accompanied by close childhood friend Robert Engel. He returned after a year and graduated with an independent major in classical studies. From there, Daryl spent more time in Israel living on a kibbutz. Daryl next went to law school at Santa Clara University, and then supplemented his education with a degree in taxation from New York University School of Law. Between law school and New York, he met his wife, Teri Shoofey; they two had two children, though are now divorced. After New York, he returned to Nevada, first living in Reno. After his father passed away, Daryl moved back to Las Vegas, and took on more responsibility with the family business as well as practicing law. Daryl?s commitment to community service is enduring and visible. He has donated his time and resources to both Jewish organizations, like Jewish Family Services, and non-Jewish groups, like Las Vegas Rescue Mission. He has also served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Congregation Ner Tamid, and the Anti-Defamation League. Daryl also continues to indulge his passion for international travel, having visited Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Cambodia, and has even biked from Hungary to Poland. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Daryl Alterwitz on November 8, 2014 by Barbara Tabach in Las Vegas, Nevada Preface?????????????????????????????????..?..iv Describes childhood in Gary, Indiana; experiences with anti-Semitism; reasons for family move to Las Vegas; culture shock and adaptation to new environment. Mentions life events connecting him to Judaism: bar mitzvah, trip to Israel. Talks about close friend Robert Engel; befriending other neighborhood boys; Hebrew Center. Mentions Steinberg family????????..?1-5 More about adolescence; passion for reading. Describes road trip to California as high school senior, visiting colleges; settling on Santa Cruz. Talks about taking year off college to backpack in South Asia with Robert Engel. Recalls being in Pakistan during Iran hostage situation. Moves to an Israel, lives on kibbutz upon graduation; goes to Sinai Peninsula when finished. Notes observed changes in Israel between his first and second travel??..???????.6-13 Explains his relationship with Judaism; spirituality more broadly; influence of extensive global travels in appreciating different cultures, religions. Mentions attending law school at Santa Clara University. Talks about living in New York while getting taxation degree; meeting wife Teri; Teri?s father Alex Shoofey and his involvement with city development. Reflects upon trip to Morocco; exposure to Islamic culture?????????????????????..14-19 Talks about returning to Nevada, first Reno then Las Vegas; taking on more responsibility in family business after father?s death. Mentions community service activities, both in and outside Jewish community. Considers challenges in creating vibrant and involved Jewish community; barriers to establishing senior housing project. Mentions love for history; visiting historical sites when traveling, including powerful trip to Poland????????????????...20-25 Index........................................................................................................................................26-27 Appendix: Walker Furniture timeline from company website [2015]?????????.28-31 vi 1 Today is November 8, 2014. This is Barbara Tabach, and I am sitting with Daryl Alterwitz in his law offices in Henderson. We are in Henderson or are we in Las Vegas? When we look across the street it's Henderson, but we're actually in Las Vegas, or unincorporated Clark County, I think. Daryl, let's start with how old you were and what year it was that you arrived in Las Vegas, and where from? Tell me a little bit of background. I came from Gary, Indiana, the city on the move. It had become very impoverished, violent and drug ridden. My father liquidated his businesses. That was 1973. We packed up the cars, the moving vans, and moved out to Las Vegas. I'll just tell you a little bit about Indiana. It was a great community. We had two temples and our temple, Temple Israel, was just three blocks from the house. I had my first experiences with anti-Semitism there. When we went from elementary school?I went to Nobel Elementary School on Pottawatomi Trail; I think that was named after Native Americans there?we actually used to find arrowheads and stuff like that. Oh, really? It was fun growing up there. We were on the beach and in the sand dunes. But when we went to middle school?it was called Kennedy-King?we mixed the people from our little Miller Beach area with the kids from East Gary, literally the other side of the tracks. I was always a good student, got along with teachers and got good grades. I had my first Schwinn bicycle, Stingray. I guess I was an object of envy to the kids who didn't have a Stingray or good grades or girlfriends and their frustration manifested itself as anti-Semitism. There were like little mini race riots. Me and my scrawny Jewish friends, Mitchell Appleseiss, and a variety of others, we'd come to school 2 and there would be a bunch of bullies. They'd pull their belts off and swing these big, heavy metal belt buckles and hit us. We'd try to defend ourselves, but we were outnumbered. My non-Jewish friends would intervene. You'd go to a party and they would chase you out; they'd chase you through the woods and scream obscenities. I think we actually got the JDL [involved]; they posted sentries outside the school. What does JDL stand for? Jewish Defense League, which is kind of a radical but very?I belong to the ADL now, which tries to teach tolerance and minimize violence. But JDL, they were enforcers. I took self-defense classes and we had to be wary of the bullies. They would highjack your bicycle and you were getting in fights. It was very anxious. That's really not the reason we moved; it was more because of violent street and drug gangs. Coming to Las Vegas was kind of a weird thing for me because I grew up in jeans and sneakers and T-shirts and not much else. But when I moved here I was taken aback because everyone seemed to be taking seriously disco fever or whatever that Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta [look]. You mean the unbuttoned shirts and the chains and all that? Oh, yeah, like the silk shirts or Dacron shirts or whatever that artificial silk was, with these tight bell-bottom slacks and high boots. Leaving Gary, Indiana and Jackson Five?I actually had the same teacher; I wasn't in the same class as Michael Jackson, but we shared Thelma Dora Finkledye as a fourth grade teacher. I thought we were leaving that behind us. It was disorienting to move when you're thirteen and going to a new high school. There was like twenty-five hundred, eighteen hundred people at Valley High School, which at that time was one of the better high schools. I never imagined it would be so immense. I was taken back, a little withdrawn, but I 3 found my way and made friends. One of the first friends I made was Robert Engel, a Jewish boy. We're still close friends. He went to a different high school, but we stayed friends throughout high school and went to the same college. How did you meet him? My father moved his businesses out here, and he chose and interviewed an accountant, Phil Engel, who's still alive and who I still visit once in a while, and his wife, Adele. He introduced me to Robert and we hit it off. I ended up dating his older sister and his younger sister. We went to Israel together, exceedingly naughty. I don't want to mention things because this is public record. But we would smuggle liquor and we were the bad boys on the Jewish trip. But when you're sixteen... There's always someone, right? I had a crush on the counselor. But we had a lot of memories. That was my first time to Israel. I still have friends from that trip besides Robert; I stay in touch with Dana Gillette Paskel. But that was my first?and it's probably one of the things that really made me Jewish. When I look back to see what made you Jewish, it had to be my bar mitzvah with rabbi. He engaged me intellectually and made me think, and that's what Jews are supposed to [do], think and question and wonder?wonder or wander? Well, both. Both. So he engaged me, and traveling as a teen [also] engaged me. I returned to Israel because I got the wandering bug. I'm jumping ahead. I'll go back and talk about college later. But growing up in Las Vegas...from Robert I met other Jewish kids in his neighborhood. He lived on right off Oakey Avenue on Houssells Street. That's about seven blocks from Temple Beth Sholom. To ride my bike from near Eastern and Flamingo, where my first development 4 project was when my dad bought the empty property, to his house was about a fifteen-minute bike ride; but from his house to temple was less than a five-minute bike ride. I don't know if it was when we first moved there or soon thereafter, they built a little?we called it the Heeb Center, short for Hebrew. I'll meet you at the Heeb Center. Where was this? Right behind Temple Beth Sholom. A separate building? Just attached? So part of it. Yes, part of that little campus. It's funny. As a kid you just can't stand temple. It's just miserable. Because you were forced to go. A few seconds are taking hours. Ironically, now I go to temple and I still appreciate it; time slows down just a little bit and you can relax and have a moment of contemplation, but then it was just torture. So no one liked temple. Temple Beth Sholom wasn't my cup of tea, but back then nothing was my cup of tea except going to the Heeb Center. There were non-Jewish kids who went there, too. Speiglemeyer; I'm still friends with Speiglemeyer. We're going out next week. We'd play basketball and racket ball, and they had a little lounge for kids. I don't remember spending much time in the lounge watching TV. We were just out and about playing. We were on the move. The core of kids was David Eisenberg, which his parents won't tell me what he's doing. They said, ?You'll have to call him and find out.? They won't give me his number. So I don't know what David's doing. Mark Handelman, he's my doctor now. He's on the other side of the town, the west side. Robert Engel I'm still friends with. Jorry, I can't remember Jorry's last name. But that's how we were Jewish, because we hung out at the Heeb Center with Jewish and 5 non-Jewish kids from different high schools, and we were a core. You've got to understand this corridor; it was, I think, on 15th Street. Up on 13th Street is where the Steinbergs lived. If you haven't interviewed any of them...I'd call them a foundation family. What do you mean by that? One of the cornerstones of modern Jewish urban...they're a very important family to the community. The father is a doctor and has the biggest radiology lab, now run by his son. His son, Alan, who was my pal back then, moved to California. He?s still a friend of Speigy and me. And David, who's a friend, runs the diagnostic place. I dated Diane?her name is Dina now. That little sister is now one of the best friends of my girlfriend Jill. So it kind of goes full circle. The house was a wonderful house. Faye Steinberg and Leon Steinberg are the matriarch and patriarch of the family. Her door was always open. She would always love to feed every kid in the neighborhood and every other neighborhood. It was kind of like the other center. Basically we'd go and play basketball and racket ball, and when we got hungry, we'd go over there. She was just happy to have kids there. It was part of being Jewish because it was a very Jewish neighborhood. That's what I remember of my Jewish teen years. As I got older, got a car, we weren't on bicycles. I didn't have a car, but I had access to a car. Less time at Ruby Kolod Rec Center. Still hanging out with my friends. Where we had access to a vehicle, we spent more time up in the mountains, up at Red Rock and Mount Charleston. I was an avid hiker and still am. Just last weekend I was hiking because I cycle out there a lot; I was counting all the canyons and naming them and I was thinking, wait a minute. What's that canyon? I've never been there. So I found a way to hike up to a canyon I've never been to and it was just beautiful. I'll show you the pictures, just not during the interview. That wouldn't be very interesting. 6 So you found something new even after all these years. After all these years. It was a place where the stackers go, the rock stackers. There were people making this rock art in the middle of nowhere, just stacking it and making different shapes. How cool. They did it. And I knew it was coming because I said to my sister?I was hiking with her?look how the cactuses are changing, look how vibrant everything is, look how interesting the rocks are. They found a special spot and started stacking rocks. It was really cool. Did you ever figure out what the canyon's name was? Yes. It's called Black Velvet Canyon. Even though it took me like two and a half hours, almost three hours to get there, then I found a trail and a parking lot. If you have a four-wheel drive, you could drive right there. But discovery is as much as fun as the arrival. So I did more of that as a high-schooler when I got older, but still hung out with my pals. But we weren't exclusively Jewish. We had Jewish and non-Jewish friends and mine were kids who liked to have fun. I wasn't a good little boy. If we could find beer or whatever and be naughty, we would. I was happy. As much as I enjoyed my friends, I felt a little alienated growing up in Las Vegas in high school. I was a little different; that kind of thing. When I was in eighth grade, I read Soul On Ice. Do you remember Eldridge Cleaver? Oh, yes. Black radical. I was an avid reader and I was a thinker. I was reading Hermann Hesse and things in high school. I went through a Russian literature phase where I told my driver's ed teacher?I lied?that I needed a blood transfusion every Tuesday and Thursday. I talked him into this, and I would go to the library and read Russian novels. Like Pasternak? 7 Literally Crime and Punishment and War and Peace. The librarian, who's still my friend and I still visit, she gave me cover. She said, ?Yeah, it's probably better than watching gore movies.? But I was kind of a little offbeat. When I finished high school?after about three years, I took a few classes at university, the first semester of my senior year. The second semester, my mom lent me the Cutlass, a 1967 Cutlass. It had a three-sixty engine. I put a ski rack on it and said, ?I'm going to look for colleges.? She let me go. I was seventeen. Robert Engel and I went snow camping and skiing along the west and looking for colleges. Just randomly? You had no plan about what...? We had a plan. We visited Dana Gillette down in Los Angeles, the gal we met when we were sixteen and we went to Israel with. We kind of just visited people we knew, made arrangements and camped out a lot. His father owned a little hotel, a Travelodge. We took some sheets and sewed a liner. When you snow camp you have to have a liner so that it doesn't snow inside your tent. Ah, it was just being seventeen years old, drinking beer, sleeping in Jackson Hole?it was either Idaho. It was somewhere. It was so bitterly cold. We were so foolish. But through that course of skiing and camping and looking at schools, we both settled on Santa Cruz. We loved it. It was set in the Redwoods and was just so unbelievably beautiful. As stupid as this sounds, it's the truth. We saw some nice schools, but when we walked from the administration building to the library and saw girls studying in this meadow without their shirts on, we said, ?Oh, we're going to go here.? So that image of Santa Cruz is true. Yes. We made our decision. We didn't see many more colleges after that. We skied. We met our parents in Denver, Colorado because UNLV was in a basketball tournament. That was basically 8 the end of high school. Then I went to college. Santa Cruz was a very liberal school. Yes. What did you study there? I started out studying mathematics and physics. I enjoyed it a lot from an aesthetic point of view, but I wasn't really convinced that's what I wanted to do. So I took some time off. I met a professor named Noll King, who was kind of a multicultural guy with a British accent, half British, half Indian. I was fascinated with the idea of India. Robert's Aunt Lori, Lori Engel, had just come back from Nepal. So Robert and I got this notion we have to go to Nepal. We prepared. I studied Indian literature and started learning the language, made up some class I took with Noll King. He kept confusing me with three or people. He was a funny guy. [Robert] went from the Europe side, I went from the Asia side, and we were going to meet in Kathmandu. I totally screwed up the dateline and thought I was stopping somewhere in China. I ended up almost missing a flight. And I end up on the same flight from Bangkok to Kathmandu as Robert accidentally. So fancy meeting you here, right? Yes. Oh, we weren't supposed to meet till tomorrow. We got off the airplane. We said, ?Should we take a taxi? Nah. Let's walk to the city.? It was about a two-hour walk, but it was hilarious. We just put on our backpacks and walked to the city. Our first trek was just about that; we walked right out of the city into our first trek. We hiked on and off together. We got a little phrase book, how to speak Nepalese, and a map. From the end of the bus line to the base camp of Mount Everest we did a self-guided tour. It took thirty days. How marvelous. Got lost. After a while you figure out how to eat. Whenever you find a market?because market's come and they move. So whenever you stumble on a market, you buy yourself lentils. And whenever you come up to a monastery, you buy yourself cheese. If there's a way to carry eggs, 9 carry eggs because staying healthy and filling your belly wasn't always easy. So Robert and I traveled in India. I traveled for almost a year. A lot of stories there. It doesn't have anything to do with Jewish life. How old were you about then? Twenty. I turned twenty-one. So you had a couple of years of college under your belt or so? Two years of college. Two years of college and then you're taking this hiatus. This is kind of tangentially related. So when you went from India to Pakistan?because I started boning up on my Urdu so I could communicate a little bit. It's always nice to know how to get food and where's the bathroom? and please, thank you, and no thank you, go away, leave me alone. You've got to learn the basics. I remember we split up and I ended up in a remote corner of Pakistan, on the border of Afghanistan where the Patons are. It was the day that Jimmy Carter tried to rescue the hostages from Iran. It was a scary day. I'll bet. What happened? I knew something was going on because there were groups forming like of four or five people; they were looking around a newspaper and then they would scatter and start telling other people. Then people started coming up to me and asking me if I was an American. I immediately denounced American Imperialism in Spanish and lied to them and told them I was from Spain. I'm looking at you now. When I look away I look around. They're right in your face and you can smell their breakfast and their dinner from the night before. When I got back to my little five-dollar a night hotel, the proprietor allowed me to change my registration and be a Canadian. They were hooting and hollering all night, the townspeople. They were very amped up and I was 10 very glad?it's hard to imagine being glad to leave Balochistan to go to Karachi. It's one of the most violent and corrupt cities in the world. I was happy to be there because I was in a decent hotel. Then I flew from there to Cairo and went to a five-star hotel and met my parents because that was just part of my itinerary. Were they worried about you? Yes, they told me to call every day, but that got old. I'm sure that was hard, right? Yes. When they saw me?I was happy to see them. I was deliberating trying to gain weight. I got up from 140 pounds to 145. But I had literally a bug, a parasite that competed with me for food. They were mortified how skinny I was. That's about seventy percent of my current weight and that's skinny for me, being six foot and 140 pounds. But I was on a luxury tour in Cairo. Was Robert still with you in Cairo? No, we split up at this point. I hadn't really fully appreciated what Cairo meant to the Jewish people. Later I learned more about it when I studied at Maimonides School. It was interesting to be in a Muslim country because it felt was more familiar than a Hindu country. It was a tough, tough gig. I almost got in a fight with a group of taxicab drivers. I was in a bad place and they were in a bad way. They rape people. They rape men. I had to basically push my way out of a group of people. It was a tough place if you weren't in the group. We went down the Nile. Then I went back to Israel. We went to Crete and some other places. It was nice to travel with my parents. I went to Israel and worked on a kibbutz; this was my second time to Israel and cementing a Jewish relationship because you felt home. I visited relatives in a little village called Kfar Monash, which is outside of Natanya. I think that's what the town is called. We went into the 11 water tower and said, ?That's where the 1967 borders are.? You could see the Mediterranean. It's like nothing. It's like a ride bicycle [away]. It's so close. People could invade with baby strollers. It's that small. So I saw my mishpocheh. Your mishpocheh? What's that? Mishpocheh is Hebrew for family. Some of them had tattoos, numbers from the Holocaust on their arm. They don't talk about it. But my Hebrew wasn't that good. My German was okay. Like English and Spanish is Spanglish. I communicated somewhere between English, German and Hebrew with them. What year was that? I graduated '77. It must have been 1980. I remember one of the events. I was done with my kibbutz, Degainia Bet, and you got a great sense of what their life was like. It was wild times on the kibbutz. Tell me about how do you choose a kibbutz or how do they choose you? How does that begin? Because you have relatives there at the kibbutz? I don't remember. That's good enough for me. I'm always curious. I've only stayed at a kibbutz for one night. I don't think I prearranged it. I think I arranged it when I got there. I think that when I was in Jerusalem there was like a place where you register; they had an agency and they'd place you on a kibbutz. That makes sense. I want to tell you about the kibbutz. I want to tell you about Jerusalem back in those early days. And my Uncle Camel. So let's finish up with Degainia Bet, the kibbutz. They were wild times. We kind of had a disco tech. I was twenty, turned twenty-one, but you could drink Maccabee beers. It was a converted bomb shelter where they had as a disco, and there were people from all 12 over Europe and America. During the day we worked our butts off. There would be work crews and people with machine guns because there were still incursions back then. Picked watermelons. Worked in a plastic factory. Pulled rocks out of a fishpond. Laid pipes. Manual labor, but hard work. Ate a lot and gained some weight. I remember an interesting conversation. They were mostly Ashkenazi European Jews and they were kind of prejudicial against the Sephardic. They thought they had bad manners and this and that. The prejudice they had, I'm thinking, you guys are pretty odd, too. We're out here in the middle of nowhere and you have bread and you're putting sardine paste on it. But you get to like sardines and I still eat sardines to this day. It was wild times. I ended up getting a German girlfriend. I found it very odd; there are a lot of German kids who went there. It was almost like a form of expiation. I don't know if it was their parents who sent them there or they had a desire. But I had a good friend from Germany. I still do, Andreas Merkl. He's the CEO of the Ocean Conservancy right now. They had these Jews who worked in the kibbutz, and I think they wanted to understand their role in the Holocaust and be an ambassador to show that they we're not that way anymore. Ushi Klamon was her name from Badsalts Flatsen; I visited her about two years later outside of Frankfurt or D?sseldorf. I made friends and we had a lot of fun in the kibbutz. When I was done I took a trip down to the Sinai Peninsula. This was after the war, '73 or '74 war, and they still had possession of Sinai. I got into an old Mercedes with an Arab guy driving it. We were bums. The kibbutz had a field trip going there. But it was me and Francois, a French Canadian. I don't think Robert was there. Francois and a few guys living in the desert on the beach with just enough water to last a day or two and renting snorkel gear on the beach. The Red Sea is amazing for snorkeling. One of the funniest images, we just had like a little back bag with a sheet in it. We'd roll up our clothes. I remember 13 waking up hearing poof, poof, poof, poof, coming closer and closer. Then when I'm dreaming I hear, ?Peeta, peeta, peeta, peeta.? It was a boy riding a camel and he's saying, ?Pita, pita.? I look up and there's a camel drooling on me. I say, ?Yeah, I want some fresh bread.? So you throw him some shekels. You get some pita bread. You pull out your peanut butter and jelly from your bag and breakfast is done. Then you go and try to find something better to eat. Boy, what a strange life that was to be in the Sinai Peninsula at Sharm el-Sheikh. One more observation about Israel: I remember the first time I went there. It was so much more Arabic. You'd walk in the old city and the guys would be out in the street smoking their hookah pipes. At sixteen I knew what hash smelled like. They were out in the street smoking hash in their hooblah booblah. Now, you're going back to the first time you were there. This is the first time, yes. I remember an Arabic guy grabbed him by his little scrawny beard because he was looking at things, ?How much is this? How much is this? How much is this?? And being disrespectful. We met our Uncle Camel. He said, ?Here, come back to my office.? And you walk behind all of these carpets. He was smoking hash, trying to sell us hash. It was hilarious. He goes, ?I am world famous. Everyone knows Uncle Camel.? When I went back the second time, it was different because it was after the second war and they were putting restrictions on it. But I still had a great time. My dad hooked me up with a lady, just a friend, and she took me to a lot of nightclubs. She was a Sephardic Jew, but she associated freely. We went to the Arabic clubs. There was dancing. It was really cool. At that point are you in Tel Aviv? Jerusalem. So those are my two trips to Israel and they really made me Jewish. So you identified more strongly after that. 14 Yes, in a cultural sense. Religiously I believe in congregation. I believe in prayer. I believe it's good to affiliate with a temple and to teach your children to be Jewish. But I have a spiritually and philosophically diverse set of beliefs. I could go to a Christian church and it wouldn't interfere with my personal relationship with my God because I'm a Jew and I have a relationship with God. I appreciate diversity and I like to learn from other cultures and other religions, which is probably what motivates me to travel. With all that travel you've certainly sampled a lot of different religions and cultures. Yes. One of my latest trips to Morocco, I really got to understand Islam by living with people and just being very close. I have a great appreciation for the Islamic religion, although it's somewhat hijacked. But let's finish our little journey here. I got back to school. Oddly enough, having traveled the world, I wanted to focus on western civilization. But being the oddball I am, I decided to make an independent major, which was classical studies. I studied Greek, Latin, poetry, philosophy, and history. I studied some Sanskrit and Indo-European linguistic stuff. I had a ball. I was admitted to University of Chicago. My dad said, ?I know who will pay for you to go to law school, but I'm very proud of you no matter who you do.? So you had earned your undergraduate degree by then? I came back another two, two and a half years? To Santa Cruz? Yes. And you finished your degree there? Yes. It was a lot of fun. As far as being Jewish then, we always celebrated Passover, but probably a little more focused on the wine, and our bitter herbs were of a different variety. College was fun. 15 But we were always Jewish. I dated Jewish and non-Jewish girls. The love of my college was a nice Jewish girl. I graduated and I was qualified to do nothing but go back to school. So I went to law school. And where did you go to law school? Santa Clara University, just over the hill; stayed in the Bay Area, a nice Jesuit school. Three years there. Then graduated and wasn't quite ready to give up childhood. So I took one more year at NYU and got a degree in taxation. It was about the best school and I was happy that I pursued my education. I was still able to stay in the top fifteen percent of the class, and so I got into NYU and I did pretty well there. I loved New York. Didn't sleep a lot. Lived kitty corner to the Blue Note Cafe. Oh, really? I'd leave my window open, summer, winter. Right after the first set would end, I'd close my books and go and listen to music. So I listened to a lot of great music there. Third and MacDougal; I think that's what it was. My father, between law school and NYU, introduced me to a very cute girl, a young, smiley girl named Teri Shoofey, who worked at the Sporting House. It's a double entendre; it's a sports club, but Sporting House also means like a whorehouse. Where was this? On Industrial. It was owned and operated, I think, by Freddie Glusman. I had worked for Freddie before. I worked in P.J. Bottoms. A lot of funny stories there, but I won't go into it. P.J. Bottoms?that was a bar? A nightclub. I worked all the time, as a kid, as a dishwasher. So this is like when you were in high school? 16 High school, yes. And my dad went to a club, I think, that was ow