What is the Lion of Judah?
While every dollar counts, there has been extraordinary movement in women's giving. It is called the Lion of Judah. And it is roaring.
Introduced in 1972 for the Miami Women's Division campaign, the Lion of Judah pin has firmly established itself as a symbol of commitment to the worldwide Jewish community.
The diamond inset 14-karat gold pin was created for the woman making a personal pledge to the annual campaign of $5,000 or more. When the program started, there were 16 women who qualified; by the end of the 1970's, there were more than 400 women in Miami who proudly wore their Lion of Judah pins.
In 1980, guidelines developed by leaders of the Miami and UJA National Women's Campaigns enabled other communities to participate in the program by adding their individual logo designs to the copyrighted pin. This is the only variance permitted except for Or L'Atid symbol of the Lion of Judah Endowment.
In 1983, a national logo was created for the pin. Communities have a choice of contracting with Miami for their local versions, or of ordering the National version. Regional and National Lion of Judah events have helped expand the program, which also has been adapted by Keren Hayesod.
In 1985, a Lion of Judah pin with a RUBY inset was established in recognition of an individual woman's personal commitment of $10,000 or more to the annual campaign.
As the decade of the 1980's ended, the program was extended to recognize even higher levels of women's giving. A SAPPHIRE inset acknowledges contributors of a minimum $18,000, and an EMERALD inset those women who contribute $25,000 or more.
In 1992, to mark the 20th Anniversary of the pin, a new $50,000 level was established with a CANARY DIAMOND inset; the stone and the category it represents are known as the ZAHAV (golden) DIAMOND.
Women's Campaigns have assumed an increasingly significant role in raising funds for the UJA Federation Campaign. Today, there are nearly 12,000 Lions of Judah in the U.S.; 900 in Canada; and more than 13,000 worldwide.