On the eve of renewed peace talks, I think about my time working at Republic National Bank of New York where I got my first job after leaving Western Massachusetts in 1980. The bank was owned by Edmond Safra, a Lebanese Jew who had business connections all over the Arab world and South America.
The bank was headquartered in an ornate eight-story landmark chateau building next to the New York Public Library. On the open international lending 4th floor, we were comprised of men and women from Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Brasil, Philippines, France, Netherlands, U.S. – Muslims, Christians & Jews.
As I reflect back, I can conjure up their hearts, faces and names- Husni, Mehani, Souraty to Wasserman, Ernst, Bremer. I have never worked with a more caring group of colleagues. Most of them came to my wedding. I couldn’t tell you who was what religion. I did learn to swear in Arabic, which they all spoke.