Don Koplen was born in 1947 in Danville, Virginia, a textile mill and tobacco market city of 50,000 mainly Baptists and 100 Jewish families.

He was a varsity wrestler and academic honor athlete in high school and worked in the family’s men’s clothing business, started in 1880, one of only a few white businesses there not boycotted during civil rights struggles. 

He majored in psychology at the University of South Carolina, where he started the first southern uncensored speak-out forum during the Vietnam War era. 

During summer break, now with hair halfway down his back, he sold household and body care products to country stores all over rural North Carolina . 

After a year-long DHEW psychodrama internship program at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., he graduated as a certified Psychodramatist. 

His interest broadened to body-mind therapies, studying for licensure as a massage therapist. In 1976, after quitting Chiropractic college, he hitchhiked from Atlanta to Colorado, starting a health spa and several magazines.

At age 48, Don fell in love with the saxophone and the building trades. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in New Orleans’ fifth district after Katrina, eventually going on to fix and flip houses in Boulder. He also plays tenor sax in a local jazz band. 

Don is married and has two sons and two grandchildren.




“The only Jew who could hammer a nail was crucified. Until me.”
— Donny Cohen,

 It’s not only great read but also full of insights about human nature.
— John L, Chapel Hill, NC