I am the son of an immigrant. My father was born in a refugee camp in Tel Aviv in 1946 – two years before the birth of the State of Israel. Despite their poverty, my grandparents were staunch Zionists and immensely proud of their Jewish identity. I carry that torch today.

My father fought for Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Thereafter, he came to the United States in pursuit of education. While working full-time, he attended community college in the evenings.

My mother’s grandparents had come to the U.S. in the early 1900s from the Ukraine to escape the pogroms. They settled in Albany, NY where they started a small grocery store. They founded and built their community synagogue, which still flourishes today. In fact, it was at this synagogue in Albany that my father met my mother.

After my parents married, my father joined the family grocery business, and they built it into a booming regional wholesale food distributorship. My brother, sister, and I grew up experiencing firsthand how education, hard work, determination, and self-reliance was vital to success.

I attended a military high school in Albany, New York. Upon graduating, I attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where I studied literature and international relations.

While an undergraduate at Hopkins, I met my wife, Gayle. Gayle grew up in Massapequa. Her parents, Susan and Sanford Black, had resided in Wantagh and Massapequa since the mid-1950’s. (In fact, Gayle’s grandparents had also founded a synagogue – Congregation Beth El in Massapequa).

My wife’s parents both died of cancer – Sandy at 56 and Susan at 62. This is unfortunately too frequent on Long Island, where the cancer rates are well above the national average. This is one of the reasons that I feel so passionately about ensuring that we do everything we can at all levels of government to study and aggressively address environmental factors that might be contributing to the elevated cancer incidence rate here.

At Hopkins, one of my roommates was shot and killed by a gunman on campus. It was this experience, and my desire to understand the workings of our justice system, that ultimately led me to attend law school. But between college and law school, I worked for Hillel International, promoting Jewish life and advocating for Israel on several college campuses in Philadelphia. During this time, I also worked for Camp Ramah, which my siblings and I had attended in our youth. Through teaching rock climbing and outdoor skills, Ramah allowed me to combine my passion for the environment with a love for Israel, promotion of which is one of Ramah’s chief goals.

At Cornell, I represented the law school at several Moot Court Competitions, both nationally and internationally. During my first summer of law school, I studied law at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I spent my second summer of law school working in the litigation department of the storied Wall Street corporate firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. While there, I had my first opportunity, through Cadwalader’s pro bono program, to work on a civil rights case representing a wrongly incarcerated person. It was more fulfilling than any other work I did that summer.

Although Cadwalader extended me a permanent job offer, my heart was committed to public service, so instead I accepted a position as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where I felt I could truly pursue my passion to help others obtain justice.

Growing up, I had witnessed the evil of Jihadism. Through my family in Israel, I was painfully aware each time that terrorists bombed a bus or detonated explosives in a crowded market there. Yet these attacks always happened there, not here.

That changed on September 11, 2001. That morning, I was on my way to work at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office when the planes struck the Twin Towers. I stood at the base of the Towers witnessing the devastation, and was there when the Towers fell. Islamic terror had now reached our shores.

9/11 had a profound effect on me. Although I was aware that the world includes evil ideologies, after 9/11 this was no longer an abstraction. It became, and remains, very personal. Our best and brightest need to have a clear view of the reality of who our enemies are, and what their doctrine is. The stakes are too high, and we do not have the luxury of telling ourselves the comfortable lie that all people share our values and can be reasoned with. Politicians should not be in the business of making Americans feel safe, but of actually keeping them safe. This calls for unflinching honesty and unflagging will.

I was fortunate to have trained and worked during the tenure of legendary District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, under the leadership of whom the Manhattan D.A.’s Office gained an unparalleled reputation for ethical practices in criminal prosecution. I served in both the trial division and the appeals bureau, and handled all manner of serious felony cases, from white collar crime to sex crimes to homicides. I also worked for a time in the Domestic Violence Unit, the Public Assistance Fraud Unit, the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Unit, and also represented the Manhattan D.A.’s Office on a City-wide animal cruelty task force.

In addition to prosecuting criminal cases, I also spoke regularly at inner city schools on behalf of the D.A.’s Office, teaching middle and high school students of the perils of gang affiliation. I also regularly spoke at senior citizen homes on methods to prevent identity theft.

Outside of the D.A.’s Office, I volunteered at the American Red Cross, where I taught CPR and First Aid. From 2006 through 2012, I served as an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where I taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing. Also, during this time, through a highly competitive process, I was selected and commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Upon leaving government service in 2008, I worked at a civil litigation law firm where I focused on civil rights and Constitutional law. In this capacity, I routinely took on all levels of government in hard fought litigations to protect my clients’ constitutional and civil rights.

In 2009, in the midst of the economic collapse, that law practice, which had existed for nearly 40 years, suddenly closed its doors. Our daughter Sophia was two years old at the time, and my wife was pregnant with our second daughter, Violet. My mother-in-law was dying of cancer. Despite the uncertain times, I made the leap of starting my own law practice, concentrating on civil rights and constitutional law. I have maintained that practice ever since. My cases have been profiled in several prominent newspapers.

I regularly lecture for bar associations and continuing legal education providers on topics having to do with civil rights litigation, Constitutional law, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and every year since 2012, I have been recognized as a New York Super Lawyer in the fields of First Amendment and civil rights law.

In 2012, I traveled to Israel to assist the Israel Law Center in litigating two separate civil actions under the Antiterrorism Act against perpetrators of international terrorism: Sokolow v. PLO and Gilmore v. The Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. Sokolow was an action brought by several U.S. citizens against the Palestine Liberation Organization for injuries and death suffered as a result of a series of seven terrorist attacks that occurred between 2001 and 2004. The Sokolows, who are from Woodmere, were injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a Jerusalem shopping district in 2002. Gilmore arose out of the shooting murder of American citizen on October 30, 2000 by a security officer of the PA’s Presidential Security Services. In connection with that litigation, I participated in the deposition of Abdallah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb maker who is serving 67 life sentences for his role in multiple terrorist attacks, including the 2001 Sbarro restaurant attack in Jerusalem and the 2002 suicide bombing at Hebrew University.

After participating in those cases, I founded my own non-profit organization, The Solis Justitia Project, which is dedicated to bringing civil litigation against regimes that sponsor terror, banks that transfer funds to terror groups, front organizations that pretend to serve charitable causes, and terrorists themselves in order to choke off their money supply.

I serve on the Civil Rights Committee, Federal Courts Committee, and Appellate Law Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association. I am also a member of the National Police Accountability Project, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, and the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. I sit on the board of directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and am an executive officer of the Nassau Lawyers’ Association of Long Island.

I also am the president of the Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council, which represents the Jewish community on the South Shore of Nassau County. I serve on the board of directors of the Merrick Jewish Centre (Congregation Ohr Torah) and the Long Island chapter of the Jewish National Fund – Lawyers for Israel. I am a former board member and officer of the South Bellmore Civic Association, am a member of the Freeport-Roosevelt Chapter of the NAACP, and am the current secretary of the Bellmore Republican Club.

My wife, Gayle, is an early childhood special education teacher. Her patience and devotion to special-needs children is humbling and inspiring to me. Every person, from the strongest to the weakest, of every age, color, and creed, is a creation of God, and must be protected and treated with dignity and love.

My wife and I have three daughters – Sophia, Violet, and Clara – ages 11, 8, and 5 years old, who attend public school in Bellmore.