Women Repair the World at the International Lion of Judah Conference


“Women Repair the World” was the theme of the International Lion of Judah Conference held Jan. 13-15, which celebrated women’s philanthropy.

Ten women from the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island traveled to Miami to join 1,400 women from 87 Jewish Federations and six countries at the conference. Hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America, the conference is an opportunity for Jewish women philanthropists to demonstrate the power and impact of what they have accomplished, and to be inspired to build a vibrant Jewish future.

The Alliance’s Lion of Judah division was created 50 years ago to recognize and empower women who give more than $5,000 a year to the annual campaign. There are 17,500 Lions of Judah around the world.

A special congratulations goes to longtime volunteer Sharon Gaines, chair of the Alliance’s board from 2013-2016 and current chair of the Jewish Federation Foundation, who was among 72 winners of the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award.

Since 2004, the prestigious award has been given to Lions of Judah who have demonstrated the highest ideals of leadership and involvement. Current board chair Mitzi Berkelhammer remarked, “I am so proud of my dear friend Sharon. Sharon, as well as all the women, are a powerful force in the Jewish Alliance and play a critical role in our philanthropy.” 

Participants at the conference pledged a record-breaking $35 million, an increase of more than 16 percent, to help Jewish Federations work to repair the world.

The Rhode Island women raised almost $10,000 for the Women’s Alliance Endowment Fund (WAEF) and the annual campaign. It was especially meaningful that five of the women gifted their daughters with membership in the WAEF in order to pass on their Jewish values to the next generation.

Rhode Island participants included four women who had never before attended a Lion of Judah conference. Susan Eides noted, “This was an incredible experience. As someone who has recently become involved in the Jewish Alliance, it was important to see the impact of my donation firsthand, and it was inspiring to be surrounded by so many women who share my values.”

TRINE LUSTIG is chief development officer at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.