The author, Bruce Fogelson, grew up in a religiously Reformed suburb, North of Chicago in the 1970s. At that time, the left-leaning synagogue did not believe in the ritual of Bar Mitzvah due to the rejection of contemporary commercialization. Instead they had confirmation, at 15 or 16 (which simply forced another few years of Sunday-school).

In a “Semester At Sea” study program in 1982, Fogelson jumped-ship in Egypt, in order to get to Israel, when the ship refused its itinerary to dock there due to the Lebanon war with Israel (also called “The First Lebanon War”). With the war came a boycott of Israel. After harrowing adventures in Egypt, he escaped across the Sinai desert, to Israel, with a friend. A few days later, Fogelson had a small but an actual Bar Mitzvah just steps from the Wailing Wall—the holiest place in the Jewish world—at age 20.

In 1983 Fogelson returned to Chicago after college to stumble upon that same friend, who introduced him to a modern Orthodox synagogue. A visiting Orthodox rabbi was leading a study group every Tuesday night. With a bit of help, this Tuesday night study group became the first stepping-stones to an evolving Jewish life, recognizing all levels of observance. There were two other Orthodox rabbis over the years who helped Fogelson form a more spiritual and literal connection with Hebrew study.

After completing his degree in Real Estate in 1983 and later starting his own real estate development company in 1992, Fogelson became an award-winning and successful real estate developer, focusing on gentrifying neighborhoods in Chicago.

Fogelson, who is the first to admit he takes on long-term projects, filed for several U.S. Patents in 2000 and 2001, which took over a decade to issue. Two are titled “Method and System of creating Advertising (Ad) books,” and focuses on fundraising for charity and from which he has now started a business.

Fogelson is developing a new business called, and that help charity-fundraising by recognizing donors and sponsors online, and in print.

Fogelson lives in Chicago and is married and has three boys.

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Tishrei, 5776