November 2019

Publisher's Note November/December 2019

Max & Joanne Friedland

In the summer of 1976, a friend and I took my beloved pale blue Fiat 1400 on a camping holiday to the South of France. While traffic in most of the world passes on the right side of the road, cars in Britain, where I was a student at the time, drove on the left. This fact made disembarking from the ferry at Calais quite dramatic, with me driving on the wrong side of the road. As fortune would have it, all I suffered was a wounded ego and severe ringing in the ears from the protestations of my passenger and the other motorists on the road. After that, I am pleased to report, I was zipping across France like the real roi de l’autoroute (French for “the king of the highway.”)

Somewhere in a box in my garage are hundreds of slides – remember those things – taken on that trip. If I had the time to sort through them, I would find an image of a much younger me, soaking wet, with the biggest smile on my face. If the slides were taken with smell-o-vision, the reason for my smile would be apparent…the scent of jasmine.

Sometime in the first few days of August, we arrived in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse. We had come to participate in the annual Fete du Jasmin (French for “The Festival of Jasmine.”) During the day, bikini-clad jeune femme (French for “young women”) threw flowers as local fire trucks unleashed a tsunami of jasmine-infused water on us. That night, we enjoyed fireworks, parties, and street performers. We made deep, lasting friendships with people we would never see again. The next day arrived with improved sobriety and visits to a few perfumeries and their laboratories, where I was introduced to the fine art of blending scents. Not unlike their neighbors, who make exceptional wines, these geniuses of the olfactory system create lingering memories and emotions.

In Makes Perfect Scents, pages 52-56, Jaq Greenspon explores this world and introduces us to the experts known affectionately as le Nez (French for “The Nose.”) On pages 18-19, in our “Desire” section, we offer a selection of scents for your consideration as holiday gifts.

In his piece, The Lazy Gift Giver, pages 26-29, new contributor Erik Lewin writes about gift-giving from a personal perspective. He chronicles his evolution from a lazy gift giver to a more committed and generous soul. Bravo Erik!

Gift-giving can be stressful to one’s bottom line. In Credit Card Blues, pages 30-33, Brian Sodoma interviews industry professionals and asks them to share their tips on holiday expense planning.

Although completely preventable, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) affects nearly 40,000 infants each year. Paul Harasim’s current submission, Fetal Alcohol, pages 42-45, is an essential read for all those who enjoy raising a glass or two.

Finally, we are very proud of our coverage of the recent elections in Ukraine and the unlikely individual who became president of that war-torn country. We are especially happy to introduce another new contributor, Ukrainian political journalist Anna Romanenko. In her essay, Volodymyr Zelensky, pages 52-56, she covers the elections. She introduces us to the Jewish TV host, comedian, and actor who was the unlikely winner of the presidency.

As we end 2019, thoughts turn to our exciting plans for 2020, stay tuned! You won’t be disappointed. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! And, as always, it is our profound privilege and pleasure to see you in the racks.

Max D. Friedland

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