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Federations’ Lions of Judah pledge $27 million at conference

NEW YORK (JTA) — Female donors raised $27 million for Jewish federation causes at the biennial Lions of Judah conference.

The Lions, a federation sisterhood of sorts for female donors who give at least $5,000 per year to their federations, pledged the money Wednesday at the close of their three-day conference in New York. The sum represented a more than $8 million increase over the last International Lions of Judah conference, in New Orleans in 2010.

“I have never been more proud to be a Lion of Judah and stand in solidarity with so many incredible, accomplished and generous women," said Gail Norry, chairwoman of women’s philanthropy at the Jewish Federations of North America. "We are stronger as a people because women today are more committed to repairing and sustaining our Jewish community.”

In all, women’s philanthropy comprises roughly 23 percent of federations’ annual campaigns, and women’s campaigns are the fastest-growing type of federation campaigns, according to a spokesman at the Jewish Federations. Lions of Judah has 17,500 members; about 1,700 attended this week’s conference, which was held at a midtown Manhattan hotel.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the group.

“More than just an anniversary, it really attests to a steadily growing, incredibly successful initiative that involves multiple generations of women — sometimes in one family — that raises huge amounts of money for Jews around the world and shows no signs of slowing down,” Jewish Federations spokesman Joe Berkofsky said.

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