Born to a Holocaust survivor in 1957, Ben-Israel grows up in Tel Aviv, where he shows an early interest in baking and dance. Beginning a dance career in 1978, he attends the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, where he works with the prestigious Batsheva and Bat-Dor dance companies. After developing arthritis, he retires from dance and begins to bake professionally, when Martha Stewart discovers him in the late 1990s. His second career takes off, culminating in the premier of his popular cable TV show.