New Jersey Jewish News
Lion confab sees power of women and giving
Former President Bill Clinton and United States ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton were among the marquee speakers at the United Jewish Communities Lion of Judah conference, held Sept. 10-12 in Washington, DC.
The biennial conference, sponsored by UJCs National Womens Philanthropy, drew more than 1,500 women leaders, including 12 from Middlesex County.
It was fabulous as usual, said Sandy Lenger, president of the Womens Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County. The Lion of Judah conferences are just amazing experiences.
According to Lenger, attendees raised $30 million during the conference, including $21 million for the regular campaign and $9 million for the Israel Emergency Campaign.
Barbara Littman of Highland Park received a Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award, which recognizes high standards for philanthropy and volunteerism.
The biennial conferences, which alternate between Israel and Washington, are open to Lions of Judah who give a minimum annual gift of $5,000 to a federation over several years.
In addition to women representing 100 North American federations, this years gathering was also attended by delegates from Brazil, Chile, France, Israel, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Paula Masciulli of Monroe, a cochair of the Middlesex delegation, said Lion of Judah gives women the opportunity to to increase their own philanthropy and rise to the occasion when it comes to major gift-giving.
It encourages continuing philanthropy, it encourages learning about the issues, she added. It has an Israel component, which is key, especially given what happened this past summer with the war in Lebanon. We give our support and come as a powerful group, and as powerful women, we can share and teach.
Masciulli said she was especially enlightened by a session on human trafficking.
It was an eye-opener, she said. It was just extraordinary to learn how prevalent it is.
She found heartrending the speech given by Karnit Goldwasser, wife of Ehud Goldwasser one of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
Ruth Ellen Fidelman Weiss of Monroe, the other delegation cochair, also cited the feeling generated by being around such strong women. Its always exciting to be around so many powerful women that make things happen and change in the Jewish world and the world at large, she said. We come away with a sense of being reenergized.
Weiss said she was most impressed by Clinton, the keynote speaker. Even if you dont agree with him, he is always a charismatic speaker and always pro-Israel, she said.
In his remarks, Clinton derided the deterioration of the fragile democracy in Afghanistan. We cant practice hit-and-run democracy, he said. We have got all of the military power in the world to defeat a traditional foe in the moment, but insurgencies are about the long run; they are never defeated by superior military power alone.
Weiss also said the age of many of the participants helped allay concerns about the future of Jewish philanthropy.
There were quite a few young women, she said. That was something very encouraging for the future of federation. We worry we are aging out and what the future is going to be, that there wont be enough hands to take over. But when I saw how many young women were Lions, I felt comfortable there will be another generation to take over the reins.
Comment | | |