Joe Shamash was born in Baghdad,Iraq in 1948. He lived there with his parents, five brothers, and two sisters; his family was very well off and they lived in a large house. In the 1940s there were nearly 150,000 Jews living in Iraq. During the 1960s life became very difficult for the Jews.

Joe and his immediate family were fortunate to leave Iraq in late 1957 when he was 10 years old and move to New York. Unfortunately, Joe’s oldest brother was not allowed to leave the country, so once Joe’s parents saw the rest of their children safely settled in New York they went back to Iraq. They were not allowed to leave again until 1960 and so Joe and his siblings had to survive on their own for more than two years.

Joe attended Temple University in Philadelphia and graduated with a degree in economics. After he graduated, Joe left for California and fell in love with the Bay Area. Joe is an entrepreneur and has started five of his own companies. Joe lives in the Bay Area with his three children.