Pride of the Lion

28 Jan

Helen Glaser, Susi Steenbarger and Julie Green proudly wear their Lion of Judah pins

While having lunch with a brand new Lion of Judah recently, she broke out in tears as I presented her with her Lion of Judah pin.  The decision to make a substantial gift to Federation came after a summer visit to Israel during which she described herself as “transformed.” Never a donor before, she realized that she was part of a global Jewish community and the importance and vulnerability of Israel.  The effect upon her was nothing short of profound.

Long a symbol of strength and majesty in the Jewish world, and in the world at large, the Lion of Judah is a dramatic reminder that each woman can make a significant difference in the lives, vitality and continuity of her family and her people. Being a Lion of Judah and wearing the Lion pin is a special way to connect with the Jewish community.  You proudly show that you recognize the meaning of tzedakah.

This new Lion feels that she has taken responsibility for Jews here in Sarasota-Manatee, in Israel and around the world.  She has joined a sisterhood of women who, no matter what their age, hometown, political leanings or other differences, are passionate and committed to a thriving and caring Jewish present and future.  She related the feelings of a cousin in Boston who is also a Lion. When her cousin sees another woman wearing a Lion pin, they immediately connect and realize that they are like-minded, and although they may be strangers, know that they will be there for each other and Jews throughout the world.

Yes, as a Lion of Judah, you are invited to attend a nice luncheon and participate in other special activities.  But together, through caring and passion, women who wear the Lion of Judah pin are able to transform the concept of tikun olam from an abstract dream to a concrete reality.

Ilene Fox is the Director of Women’s Philanthropy at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. For more information about the Lion of Judah, please contact her at 941-343-2111 or


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