By Linda Rosenthal
I had the opportunity to participate in the International Lion of Judah Conference in Hollywood, Florida this month and it was truly memorable. I’m relatively new to the Federation and I decided to become a Lion of Judah, which is a minimum gift of $5,000 per year, after experiencing a wonderful Women’s Mission to Israel in 2016. I always knew that the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ did great work but seeing it first hand on that mission made it even more evident how impactful and widespread their good work extends.
Right after becoming a Lion, I moved to Florida, but I remained connected to the Greater MetroWest community. I was excited to reunite with 49 Greater MetroWest Lions at last week’s International Lion of Judah Conference here in Florida where we participated with nearly 1,400 total Lions from around the world. The sheer energy in the room from these women was incredibly uplifting and inspiring.
It was another perspective on what the larger Jewish Federation does to help communities around the world. My heart swelled, and my eyes watered, learning about all the resources sent after the fires in Los Angeles, and after the terror attack in Pittsburgh and the mass shooting in Parkland. In fact, the deputy mayor of Parkland pledged to become a Lion right up there on stage because of what the Jewish Federation did to help the Parkland community during that crisis. Her deep appreciation for all Federation did was truly inspiring.
In the breakout sessions, we heard from women who escaped conflict zones around the world and now work to help others escape communities in complete crisis to emigrate to Israel.
We heard from a young Israeli woman who solved a “simple problem” by bringing solar panels to remote African villages to help them develop energy to pump clean water and generate power for refrigeration, totally transforming their lives. This model continues to help other remote villages, one at a time, throughout Africa.
As I went from session to session, engaging with Lions from all over, and then reuniting with my Greater MetroWest friends, I felt profoundly proud. I walked straighter and more upright. I felt emotionally and physically lifted beyond my expectations.
Linda Rosenthal lived in Basking Ridge for 25 years and now resides in Boca Raton, though she visits Greater MetroWest NJ often! This is her third year as a Lion. Linda is married and has four kids and is a new grandma.