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!

An expression of goodwill…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

February 10, 2013 marks the start of a new year for more than one-fifth of the world’s population. While I do not represent that “one-fifth,” I share many links with it. We have attended each other’s weddings, funerals and other more joyous events. It is the most important of traditional Chinese holidays among us. It is also often referred to as the Lunar New Year.

The first day of the New Year is a time to honor your elders and families generally visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. This is an example of filial piety and is a tradition we could all benefit from, “paying homage to those who have travelled ahead of us.”

Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash known as lai see or angpow, a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.1 I know my children would have loved following this practice, along with those of everyone else’s holidays!

Business managers give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.

I bring some of these traditions up because it has recently come to my attention that China has surpassed the U.S. to become the World’s Largest Trading Nation.2

Isn’t it a better practice to wish your neighbor goodwill? You never know the future will turn. I say Xin nian kuai le (Happy New Year!) and Gong hai fa cai (Congratulations and be prosperous!) out of genuine respect and brotherhood with my neighbor. As I grow older, peace and harmony become ever more important and less stressful for me.

The world is a beautiful place and it grows smaller each day!

1 Wikipedia
2 Bloomberg News