Feb 8, 2016

Lions Roar with International Human Rights Activist at Annual Luncheon

This year’s Lion of Judah Luncheon drew nearly 400 women to the Polo Club on February 3, to enjoy an elegant lunch reception honoring their commitment to philanthropy. The theme of the afternoon was the power of kindness, which truly resonated with all the women as they celebrated with their sister Lions the impact of their generosity in helping those in need.

Click here to enjoy more photos from this beautiful, powerful event.

“This year’s Lion of Judah Luncheon celebrates more than 44 years of the Lion’s Pride,” said Robin Rubin, who co-chaired the event with Amy Ross, with Honorary Chair Phyllis Sandler. “The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County has one of the largest groups of Lions in the country…44 years of spreading love and kindness throughout the community and our Jewish world.”

Through powerful video vignettes, the Lions learned about individuals locally and around the globe whose lives have been changed thanks to Federation and their wide array of services and programs. “It’s great to see our dollars hard at work to support Jewish life and learning,” said Eydie Holz, Lion of Judah Vice Chair.

Guest speaker, human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, shared her incredible story and detailed her courageous crusade to achieve basic rights after growing up as a Muslim woman in Somalia. Her journey included fleeing to the Netherlands where she became a citizen, earned her M.A, and served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament, campaigning to raise awareness of violence against women. Today she is a fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfour Center for Science and International Affairs.

“She endured so many challenges along the way,” said Robin Rubin.” Now she is a true champion of women’s rights, advocating for women across the globe to gain the rights of freedom and empowerment.”

After her own experience seeking asylum, Hirsi Ali said she can better understand what many Holocaust survivors went through, and has a unique perspective on the refugee crisis today. “I am inspired every day by people like you and other survivors who have had to flee war and a place where your life and your family’s lives were in danger,” she said. “I wasn’t fleeing war, I was fleeing a forced marriage, but I came with the mentality that that culture restricted me and abused me because I was a woman. Now I’m going to set that aside and I’m going to learn these new values and adopt them, and I’m going to try and contribute what I can to this society. There are so many people like that who are fleeing today and we need to find out which ones want to adopt our values and which ones wish us harm.”

During the program, 54 new Lions of Judah were recognized, as well as 18 women who established Lion of Judah Endowments. The luncheon also highlighted the Code of Kindness, a global project that strives to promote acts of kindness and spread them from one to person to another, through physical tokens and kind deeds. Each Lion of Judah attendee received a token, so they can continue to impact others through their philanthropy and generosity.

Wells Fargo Private Bank is the generous sponsor of the Dorothy P. Seaman Department of Women’s Philanthropy. The Lion of Judah Luncheon is generously sponsored by the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, Ivan & Co. Jewelers, and The Boca Raton Observer is the exclusive magazine sponsor.

For more information about the Federation’s Lion of Judah program and other women’s activities, contact Susan Levine at 561.852.6034 or SusanL@bocafed.org.

Photo Captions L-R:

  1. Eydie Holz, Amy Ross, Judi Schuman, Aayan Hirsi Ali, Phyllis Sandler, Robin Rubin, April Leavy
  2. Meryl Gallatin, Roxane Frechie Lipton, Leona Brauser, Norma Kipnis Wilson, Judi Schuman, Margie Baer, Margaret Kottler, Anne Jacobson, Emily Grabelsky
  3. Amy Ross, Robin Rubin, Ilana Mishulom, Phyllis Sandler, Andrea Schnurmacher
  4. Stephanie Midler, Antonio Seminario, Larry Katz, Aayan Hirsi Ali, Barry Goldberg
  5. Linda Behmoiras, Judi Schuman
  6. Anne Jacobson, Matthew C. Levin, Jane & Albert W. Gortz

Click here to enjoy more photos from this beautiful, powerful event.