Early life and education
Fastow was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up in New Providence, New Jersey, the son of middle class Jewish parents, Carl and Joan Fastow, who worked in retail and merchandising. Fastow graduated from New Providence High School, where he took part in student government, played on the tennis team, and played in the school band. He was the sole student representative on the New Jersey State Board of Education.
Fastow graduated from Tufts University in 1983 with a B.A. in Economics and Chinese. While there, he met his future wife, Lea Weingarten, daughter of Miriam Hadar Weingarten (a former Miss Israel 1958), whom he married in 1984. Fastow and Weingarten both earned MBAs at Northwestern University and worked for Continental Illinois bank in Chicago. Both he and his wife attended Congregation Or Ami, a conservative synagogue in Houston where he taught Hebrew School.