Lion of Judah


The Lion of Judah is perhaps the most successful development vehicle of all time and is a symbol of today’s Jewish Woman’s strength, a symbol of her caring about the organized Jewish world and a symbol of her financial commitment of at least $5,000 to the UJA Federation Annual Campaign. More than 16,000 women world-wide are Lions of Judah.


Created in 1972 in Miami by Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedlandz”l, the Lion of Judah program has brought together women of all ages and from many walks of life in order to play an essential role in creating social justice, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, preserving human dignity and building Jewish identity. 


To find out more about becoming a Lion of Judah in your community, and joining the most generous, dedicated and passionate Jewish women in world, email Diana Kalef or call 403-444-3154.

Three Stories of Planned Giving

“Our voice is no longer heard after we’re gone, but our actions will live on forever.”


Planning for the future is part of human nature, whether it’s what to have for lunch or what to leave your children after you’re gone. For those who can, leaving a gift for family is a given, but a gift to community is often not.


The old expression “the gift that keeps on giving” is truly manifested in the selfless act of Planned Giving - leaving a legacy gift that benefits a charitable organization indefinitely. Such a gift ensures continuity for that organization and adds a measure of financial stability when an uncertain future looms. Calgary Jewish Federation has been blessed to have three such endowments generously bestowed by Lion of Judah members Marilyn Libin, Sandy Martin, and Donna Ribackz"l.


When asked what their motivations were, Donna told a story of her grandmother who gave money to two men who came to her door, even though she didn’t like their demeanour. When Donna asked her why she gave them money, her grandmother said “because they’re Jewish.” Donna felt strongly about helping to ensure that the Jewish community is still here and thriving in the years to come.


Marilyn pointed out that we’re only 1% of the population, so it’s incumbent upon us to make sure our philanthropy supports the Jewish community, in addition to other worthy causes. Her background working in the Jewish community gives her the sense that there is diminishing support for Israel and Jewish causes. By leaving a legacy, she hopes to have an impact on countering that trend.


Sandy Martin, Donna Riback z

Over 30 years ago, Sandy‘s father set up a charitable foundation, knowing his philanthropy would go on after his death at an early age. This ensured strength and vibrancy for our community as a benefit of his own good fortune. This resonated with her as a young woman and had a profound effect on her future behaviors. She came to understand that her own life actions could ensure a secure future for her children and for others that did not have the same opportunities.


Marilyn, Sandy and Donna all agreed that it is only natural for women to encourage long-term stability for our community and to get the men in their lives on board. If we follow the lead of these women, our community is in good hands.


Please consider leaving a legacy gift to our community. To find out more, please contact Diana Kalef at Calgary Jewish Federation at 403-444-3154 or email.

Myra Paperny, Faith Riback, and Jenny Belzberg

Lion of Judah

Please click to view our Video featuring the Calgary 2014 Lion of Judah honourees: