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A pledge not to gossip

Federation's Younger Set gives dollars and gets a lesson

by Deborah Silverthorn

Special to DJW

The message for the morning was don't gossip.

The event was the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Younger Set's "Passion for a Cause."

The cause was the federation's Lives Touched in Extraordinary Times: Annual Campaign 2003.

"Gossip, or l'shon hara evil speech is not a vague commandment," said Lori Palatnik told the more than 60 women attending the Feb. 19 event at the home of Andy and Nicole Schultz.

"Don't go as a gossiper amongst your people, written in Leviticus, is very straightforward," said Palatnik, who wrote "Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul" with Bob Burg. "Gossip destroys relationships, alienates people and is really a terrible sickness. We as Jews are supposed to be a light unto the nation and people are supposed to look up to us but many of us are making mistakes."

Gossip kills three people, she said: the subject, the listener and the speaker, "The subject who isn't there to defend or correct the comments, the listener whose mind is now awhirl with information they can't and shouldn't do anything with, and the speaker for being one so damaging."

Noting that words can be used for communication or for destruction, she advised her audience to make the choice to communicate.

"If you aren't sure how to act or speak at a particular moment," said Palatnik, "imagine yourself standing next to someone whom you admire most in the world. Would you still speak or act in that manner if they were standing there? God is always standing there and that should help you make the right choice."

Palatnik, who also has written "Friday Night and Beyond - The Shabbat Experience Step-by-Step" and "Remember My Soul, What to do in Memory of A Loved One" (with her husband Rabbi Yaakov Palatnik) pointed to the Torah for a general guide on living.

"The word Torah means instructions and the Torah in fact is so much more than dusty Bible stories about men in robes," said Palatnik. "It offers lessons on how to have a great marriage, business practices and so much more. We have to understand what it means to be Jewish if we want our children to do the same."

Event chair Stefani Eisenstat called Palatnik's message " so powerful and so important."

"She was so dynamic and energetic and she reached everyone in the room," she said. "These are basic values we all should live by."

As of last week's breakfast, the Younger Set, a division of the federation's Women's Constituency composed of married women under the age of 42, has raised $176,830, which is 24 percent over last year at this time.

"Younger Set is one of the older components and most vibrant parts of our campaign," said campaign director Debbie Estrin. "This group is great and clearly representative of our emerging leaders."

Noting the world is in a terrible situation right now and the Jews are having a more than difficult time, Palatnik concluded her talk by saying, "We are a light unto the nations and we must react in ways that make a difference. We react by giving of our time and money and we must also react by showing the values and the integrity that we, as a people, hold dear."

As of Feb. 20, $6.5 million of the federation's $9.1 million goal had been raised for this year's campaign.

This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, February 27, 2003








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