Welcoming Bianna Golodryga at our Annual Lion of Judah Luncheon

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is thrilled to welcome Bianna Golodryga, former co-anchor of Good Morning America's weekend edition and current Yahoo! News and Finance anchor, as our keynote speaker for the annual Chai/Emerald/Zahav, Ruby & Lion of Judah Luncheon on February 15th. The luncheon brings together an incredible group of strong, philanthropic, generous, and dedicated women that helps lead our Federation's Lions of Judah and Women's Philanthropy. Together, these women support the impactful work of our Federation and are committed to ensuring the future of our community.

Golodryga is an award-winning journalist who cherishes her Jewish heritage and models the kind of leadership and vision integral to the Lion of Judah spirit. We interviewed her to learn more about her personal, professional, and Jewish journeys. Read more below!

What has helped shape your Jewish identify?
My Jewish identity is as integral a part of my identity as is the fact that I was born in the Former Soviet Union, moved to the US as a Soviet refusenik (political refugee), and grew up in Texas. None of which would have happened had I not been born to Jewish parents. The irony of their story growing up as a discriminated minority, and thus not fully accepted in one society, only to have that be the only criteria enabling them the opportunity to move to America (something non-Jewish Soviets were denied), is not lost.

How has your experience as an immigrant affected your and your parents’ Jewish identities growing up?
I've always said that my parents were most proud of our Judaism second only to their pride as Americans. What they were denied living as Jews in the Soviet Union (access to places of worship and the ability to gather and practice their worship as citizens protected by the law), they collectively absorbed through culture and tradition. They viewed their label as Jews by identity (not Soviet), as a badge of honor.

What Jewish traditions do you and your family enjoy celebrating?
Our busy schedules make regular traditions difficult to enforce in our family. Having said that, we love telling our four-year old stories about our heritage, and have had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the two Bar and Bat Mitzvahs of my beautiful stepchildren in recent years. We plan on having a traditional Hebrew baby naming ceremony for our baby daughter at her first birthday party in May.

Can you share with us some tips or advice on work/life balance?
It's constantly a work in progress, but the two greatest allies I have are my husband and my mom. My husband constantly pushes me to work and do what makes me happy. My mom was the best role model I had in terms of work ethic and motherhood.

Our Lion of Judah women represent strong leaders in our community who share a commitment to community service and Tikkun Olam ("healing the world") through actively aiding vulnerable members of our community, preserving human dignity, building Jewish identity, and ensuring the Jewish future. How will they play out in the next year, nationally?
Now more than ever, this commitment is needed. Never forgetting our history as Jews is crucial. The same country that took my parents and me in, that at some point, took all of our families in, needs to have its values and exceptionalism protected at all times, and we all can do our part.

Be sure to RSVP online to hear more from Golodryga in person on February 15th!

Lion of Judah recognizes all women who make a gift to our Federation's Annual Campaign in their own name of $5,000 or more. As part of an international organization that connects us to Lions around the world, all Lions can proudly wear a striking gold or platinum pin, highlighted with diamonds or rubies marking their increased commitment to the work of our Federation.

For more information on the Chai/Emerald/Zahav, Ruby & Lion of Judah Luncheon or the Lions of Judah and Women's Philanthropy, please contact Karen Sternfeld at KSternfeld@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8275, or Lori Tessel at LTessel@JewishLA.org or (818) 668-2344.

**The Lion of Judah group was established in 1972 as a symbol to recognize a new leadership level gift for women donors of The Jewish Federation. Today, close to 17,000 dynamic women throughout North America, Israel, and the world share a mutual commitment to Tikkun Olam, Healing the World. Lions play an essential role in aiding the vulnerable, preserving human dignity, building Jewish identity, and ensuring the Jewish future.

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