L’shana tova …!

beauty in the form of a beverage!“L’shana tova …!”A turn of phrase, but heartfelt nonetheless, every year I look forward to expressing this greeting to some of my friends and former associates. For those of you unfamiliar, it means “Happy New Year” in Hebrew. On the Jewish calendar, we have just entered a new year. So many religious events seem to be based on lunar and not solar calendars!

This actually brings back memories in my own life. I recall going to the corner restaurant owned by a Jewish gentleman, during my early years and ordering a chocolate egg cream. This was “liquid love” to me; it was “beauty in the form of a beverage.” That nostalgic memory has recently been revitalized by the recent introduction of the AriZona Chocolate Fudge Float Sparkling Soda. It has a vaguely familiar taste and it is made with Bosco, a chocolate syrup that I used to have in my milk about 50 some odd years ago.

I also recall my fifth grade teacher advising to have me “bussed” from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Sheepshead Bay in the early 1960’s. The move turned out to be a good thing in the long run. A social worker later eyed me and suggested I take the entrance examination to attend Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York City’s elite public high schools at the time. I did and I was selected and history is still being made.

My fifth grade teacher also predicted that I would become President of the United States. As you can see, her heart was in the right place and she was a bit ahead of the times. For the record, I have no interest in that job today. I do not envy President Barack H. Obama for one minute! He is beginning to look older than me and I pre-date him by about 10 years…

And then, there was my first business partnership. It lasted longer than either of my marriages. I was fortunate to inherit both a business partner and a mentor. That relationship also helped shape much of my thinking today in terms of how to view business decisions.

If you have read this far, you kind of get the impression that I am a complex person (are not we all?). One would never expect “me” to look forward to uttering such as a phase as “l’shana tova,” but I really do look forward to it every year. It brings me closer to my cousins!

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Thinking pleasant, uplifting thoughts…

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When I last checked it was 106 F in NYC. Today is the ninth day of Ramadhan. For those of you who are not aware, Ramadhan (also known as Ramadan or Ramzan) is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability for Muslims in the United States as well as the rest of the world. The first verses of the Qu’ran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the last third of Ramadhan, making this an especially holy period.

The period when Muslims end their fast at the end of each day is called Iftar. There are no special foods that need be eaten to break one’s fast, but your body may have special nutritional needs which should be met. Traditionally, a lot of Muslims will end their daily fast by consuming a few dates. This is a staple fruit found in the Middle East that is an excellent source of fiber, sugar, minerals and carbohydrates. This will generally aid the body in maintaining health.

The important thing is to avoid over-eating! Meals should consist of some vegetables, salads, chicken or fish or lean meat such as lamb or beef, grains such as rice, bread or pasta, and a serving of fruit. Drinking lots of water is very important and cannot be overstressed!

One must remember that this is a time of introspection. It should be about cultivating better character and humility. It is about learning that one can “do without,” and reconnecting with God (SWT).

For some reason, I feel particularly “amorous” today. Everyone gets a smile from me, today. It is far too hot to exert the energy to be grim. I will place a bowl of ice cubes and water outside for the wild animals that may be hanging out in the neighborhood. Most of all, I will think pleasant, uplifting thoughts today.

I think there is a lesson to be learned during this harsh weather. We all suffer to some degree, some more than others. We can all endure the plight a little better with just a slight gesture from others. All it takes is a smile or a bowl of water for a few stray animals. Try it! You will feel better…

Delizian Latte Haiku

There is a an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side that I have patronized since they first opened in the 1980’s. Late one night, at the waitress’ suggestion I ordered a latte. What I received was truly a work of art. I marveled at it for 15 minutes before deciding to drink it, lest it get cold. I did take a picture of it with my Blackberry to capture the moment…

Beautiful Latte,
A visual spectacle
Tantalizing taste…