I recently returned from Geneva where I attended the Ethics in Finance - Robin Cosgrove Prize award ceremony. It was a fun week involving catching up with friends and partying a fair bit - perhaps a little too much here and there!

The RCP has now completed its 3rd cycle. The prize is my step-mother's idea, born out of a need to do something to honour Robin following his untimely death in July 2004. The mission of the Prize is to stimulate innovative ideas for promoting ethics and integrity in the finance sector. The prize reaches out to young people familiar with the banking, finance and investment sectors, with special attention to emerging markets, to attract innovative ideas, proposals and projects which could be promoted to major players in the business community. The aim is to strengthen the sustainability of ethics in banking and finance and to reinforce its implementation, especially in emerging markets throughout the world.

Despite having been involved in helping to both organize and administer the prize, for various reasons I have been unable to attend the award ceremony on the first two iterations. As such, I was filled with immense pride to be there to see the real effect of the prize on the numerous winners who participated in this fantastic legacy to my step-brother.

After the formality of the ceremony itself a spectacular dinner was held at Vieux-Bois which is a spectacular restaurant next to the Palais des Nations and staffed by students from the nearby catering school L'École Hôtelière de Genève. This was followed by myself and a number of Robin's close friends taking the winners out into Geneva for some slightly more unruly fun amongst the Geneva nightlife and into the early hours.

However, whilst being at the award ceremony itself was great, the best moments occurred during what we should call the "informal part of the evening" when the winners sat together with Robin's friends and myself said that they really sensed that the prize had that feeling of being a legacy to this young person whom they had now heard a lot about and that it meant that bit more to them as a result. That left me beaming full of pride that the prize truly didn't just reach it's global audience, didn't just inspire young people to consider ideas for improving ethical behaviour in the finance sector, it inspired them because of who Robin was too.

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s2smodern

Lot's of things going on.  Plenty of prep for the award ceremony for the RCP, some web stuff and other general stuff.  Also trying to co-ordinate a number of friends all flying into Geneva at the same time and going out for a drink the day before the ceremony.

 

Other miscelanious goings on include rebuilding a virtual server using ubuntu (no mean feat for me as linux is no different than farsi to me - completely different language), vatsim mentoring, wishing my brother AND my nephew happy birthday for the same day!!! Fiddling with a cake website that is soon to be released, brilliantly being out of the loop from work whilst on leave due to my network password expiring, general neglect of my own website and other hobbies (particularly photography right now).  Been playing lots of finger style guitar on both 12-string and nylon and very inspired by the incredible arrangements by Igor Presnyakov which I really suggest you take a look at.

 

Hope to catch you all up on my other uncoordinated happenings again soon...

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s2smodern

 

Finally I've bothered to get round to some tidying up the website. The template is cleaner and renders correctly in all browsers (I hope), some old pages that had either test data or useless apps have been removed, and at long last the gallery has bee updated.

 

There are still some tweaks to make on the gallery which will happen in due course along with the obvious one - I need to start writing more often.

 

I hope to get that part of it up and running sooner rather than later.

 

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s2smodern

Where do you pick up from when attempting to resurrect a blog that has no focussed subject matter?

Indeed that is one to ponder, but in the meantime I will look to start gibbering soon about technology, music, guitars, and occasionally aviation.

 

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s2smodern

 

Of all the questions I am asked by some who are curious of my beliefs, the most frequent is whether or not I celebrate Christmas?

 

I could of course answer this in a word but instead shall offer an explanation of what I believe and "observe."

 

I have grown up in an orthodox Jewish home where my family has observed traditional Jewish festivities and related celebrations.  "Orthodox" Judaism doesn't denote that I wear Hasidic style clothing or spend all day learning Talmudic studies.  Orthodoxy is to Judaism what Catholicism is to Christianity.  It is the accepted traditional style of practicing Judaism and observing Jewish law.  There are other "sects" or styles of Jewish practice & observance but that is another discussion for another day.

 

This probably has suggested that my answer to the original question is no.  I personally do not observe or partake in Christmas in any way.  For me, that would be an assimilating step away from my Jewish identity towards a festival that, whilst many would argue is an annual commercial exercise, is still a celebration with explicit symbolism to the Christian faith.  That is something I do not want to be a part of.  Obviously, on the reverse of this, I do not resent anybody for, or begrudge anybody from celebrating Christmas, nor do I proselytise to Jewish friends who maybe don't believe like I do.  That would contradict my own belief that diversity is preserved by tolerance toward other beliefs.

 

At whatever level it occurs at, I try not to be involved with Christmas activities.  I do not put up a tree, decorate my home with tinsel or other seasonal goodies, and maybe to a fault in some eyes, I am also not renowned for sending cards.

 

Having so many friends, and some family who celebrate Christmas in some way does pose it's problems when trying to find a way to fit in.

 

So, there is the answer to the question.  On that note, please bear in mind that for those of you who aren't Jewish and are curious about this explanation, my practices and beliefs are not to be taken as a yardstick against other Jewish people or their observance.

 

Finally, to those of you who do celebrate Christmas, sincerely, I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of cheer and enjoyment.  To the rest of you, have a great weekend too!

 

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s2smodern