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Monday, May 25, 2015

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Young adults get lesson in life choices at the House’s JEDx

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Isador Sharp

TORONTO — About 300 well-dressed, handsomely attired and meticulously coiffed young adults gathered recently at the Capitol Event Theatre to shmooze, cruise, enjoy some booze and listen to presentations by successful businesspeople on the Jewish aspect of life choices.

Coincidentally, and perhaps most appropriately given the 22-to-35-year-old demographic, the presentation by businessman Gilbert Palter advised that one of the four most important life choices is selecting one’s life partner, or spouse.

The event was the second ever fundraising event hosted by JEDx (Jewish Ethics Defined) in support of the House. The House describes itself as “a dynamic educational centre that inspires young Jewish adults.”

Palter, co-founder and chief investment officer of Edgestone Capital Partners, said Jews believe in free will and make important choices in their lives every day. The four critical ones are in spouse, career, the balance between career, family and community, as well as determining what kind of person you will be.

In selecting a life partner, “choose well,” he suggested. He or she will be instrumental in your happiness and success and will support you financially, emotionally and psychologically.

In choosing a career, he advised, pursue your passion. There’s nothing more brutal than dragging yourself every day to a job you hate. You’re also more likely to find success in one that you find fulfilling and rewarding.

Palter was preceded by hotelier Isador Sharp, founder and chair of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Sharp recounted the view of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who described Jews as a persecuted and oppressed people who nevertheless were the eternal bearers of civilization.

The principles and values handed down through thousands of years has helped him build his life, Sharp said.

Sharp recounted opening his first hotel in 1961 without a plan of expansion. Innovations in customer service was behind the hotel’s growth. Sharp said having the right attitude is the key to success.

“Life is 10 per cent what happens to us and 90 per cent how you react to it,” he said.

That approach to life is one “that underlines our people,” he added.

Dana Florence, founder and executive-director of Three to Be, a charitable foundation focusing on improving the lot of children with neurological disorders, rounded out the speakers.

Noah Buchman, who co-chaired the event along with Melissa Grosser, said the Choice event could net the House as much as $20,000, far greater than last year’s program which turned over $7,000 to the parent organization.

The House was conceived by Rabbi Rafi Lipner, senior rabbi at Shaarei Tefillah Synagogue, as a means of conveying Jewish values to young Jewish people in a dynamic and appealing way.

Its values are Jewish ethics, education and community involvement, said Buchman, 29.

“The House inspires Jewish young adults 22 to 35 through dynamic programs to create an appreciation of Jewish wisdom and to help them navigate every day life,” he said.

People are very loyal to the House, said Grosser, 30. They often attend multiple programs each year. Word of mouth and social media are prime methods for attracting people to the organization’s programs, she added.

Upcoming events include a course for couples on the “Secrets to a successful relationship,” scheduled for May 12 at the House, 469 Eglinton Ave. W., followed the next day by a Lag b’Omer program titled, Think Twice.

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