From Sept. 10 – 12, over 1,700 Jewish women, including 16 from Cincinnati, gathered in New York City for the Jewish Federations of North America’s International Lion of Judah Conference.
Created in 1972, the Lion of Judah program for Jewish women who donate at least $5,000 to their local Community Campaign brings together over 17,500 women of all ages and many walks of life to play an essential role in creating social justice, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, preserving human dignity and building Jewish charity.
For this year’s conference, Cincinnati sent its largest contingent ever. In attendance at the conference were Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Past Presidents Beth Guttman and Kim Heiman; Board members Marcie Bachrach, Deborah Brant, Fran Coleman, Suzette Fisher, Nina Paul and Abby Schwartz; volunteers Evelyn Fisher, Michelle Kohn, Ronna Schneider, Julie Shifman, Sarah Wise and Marilyn Zemboch; and professionals Barb Miller, Danielle Minson and Lindsey Wade. Evelyn Fisher and Ronna Schneider were the local recruitment chairs for the conference.
Jewish Federation Development Director Danielle Minson said, “It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many amazing Jewish women. What was even more inspiring was to watch those 1,700 women pledge a total of $27 million to address the needs in their individual communities!”
Evelyn Fisher was also named a winner of the prestigious Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award, which recognizes extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism in their community. Criteria for the award include exhibiting leadership in the Federation system; making a significant impact in the local Jewish community, in Israel and abroad; using leadership in creative ways to address community challenges and issues; displaying initiative in the areas of philanthropy and/or volunteerism and setting a standard for others in the community; and giving other women encouragement, motivation and opportunity to take a leadership role in philanthropy and Jewish community involvement. The award was established in recognition of Norma Kipnis Wilson and Toby Friedland, founders of the Lion of Judah Society.
At the conference, women heard from speakers such as Nancy Lublin, founder of Dress for Success; Dr. Einat Wilf, a member of Israel’s Knesset; Rabbi Angela
Warnick Buchdahl, the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi in North America and one of Newsweek’s Top 50 Rabbis; Marcia Kelner Polisuk, director of Hillel Latin America; and Nell Racabi, an 11th grade student at Western Galilee Regional High School in Israel.
Sessions were offered on such varied topics as intermarriage, the glass ceiling in Israel’s high-tech sector, the intergenerational impact of Birthright Israel, teen leaders, Jewish overnight camps, social entrepreneurship and Gen X and Millennial approaches to Jewish engagement.
On Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, attendees also observed the national moment of silence, heard from speakers with unique perspectives on coping with tragedy and participated in the 9/11 National Day of Service by assembling care packages for people in need.