My father worked as the local schochet in Tcherepovetz for several years until religious persecution forced him to discontinue the practice, whereupon the family immigrated to Kharkov, Ukraine. In Kharkov there was a relatively large community of religious Jews including many Chabad Chassidim.

Upon arriving there, my father opened a kosher restaurant, but in 1931 the newly passed Passportizatzya law offered a new opportunity. This law stated that every person from the age of 16 and older needed an identity card which would serve as a residency permit. This piece of identification required a photograph. Photography became a popular new profession and a number community members, my father among them, quickly learned the trade and became photographers. Many Lubavitchers had their pictures taken by my father for this card and he snapped many of their personal photos as well. Indeed, many pictures that Lubavitchers have from their years in Kharkov were taken by my father.

I heard that the legendary Chassid R. Berke Chein adopted this profession as well, after a fashion. He would arrive to work only after his lengthy morning prayersand their attendant preparations, such as immersing in the mikvah and studying Chassidus. Despite the late hour, he would find a long line of customers waiting for him!