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Who are the Lions of Los Angeles?

Last week, we posted a blog about our Federation’s 2016 Lion of Judah Award Honorees. This week we’d like to introduce you to some of our new Lions and Chairs and give them a chance to share the personal side of their outstanding level of involvement with our Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy.

Jackie Banchik – Chai/Emerald/Zahav Chair

This is my second time being the Chai/Emerald/Zahav Chair. I feel lucky to be a Lion and to be friends with such unbelievably powerful, strong, intelligent, wonderful women.  Becoming a Lion continues my family tradition of involvement with Jewish causes – and helps our own in here in Los Angeles and in Israel.  What got me excited about the Federation was how much we are actually able to accomplish in this community – and how very many lives we touch. Some members of my family got out of Poland before the war.  Others did not survive.  So, naturally, ensuring the Jewish future is my greatest concern.  I want my children and grandchildren to be part of a Jewish community. We have been to Israel as a family many times. When I took my ten-year-old grandson to the Wall, he said, “This is a dream come true.”  That was a dream come true for me.


Nancy Beiser – Women’s Philanthropy Vice Chair for Valley Alliance

I am very proud to be a Lion of Judah and represent one of thousands of philanthropic Jewish women in the world. My parents of blessed memory were my greatest role models growing up. Philanthropy and Jewish education were always a priority to them. I quickly learned the importance of the Jewish community and tikkun olam, repairing the world. I am fulfilled and inspired in such a meaningful way when I’m at a Federation meeting or event or on a Mission. This year I am most looking forward to planning events that are meaningful, inspirational and educational, attracting more women to learn, to be inspired and to be connected to the vital work the Federation accomplishes. And the more women we attract to gain the understanding and importance of Federation’s work, the more funds we can then raise to continue creating a stronger Jewish community for now as well as the future.


Lynne Brookman – Women’s Philanthropy Vice Chair

My Jewish story is a love story. When I graduated college, my parents sent me on a Federation-sponsored Mission to Israel. I was hooked and returned home immersing myself in the Young Adult Business and Professional Division, where I met my husband. After getting married, we joined LA Couples, started our family, and I became entrenched in what is today Sylvia Weisz Woman’s Philanthropy. Sixteen years ago I became a Lion, cementing my relationships with some of the most remarkable, kind and dynamic women I have met. I feel empowered, inspired and grateful to be part of something so much bigger than myself. I am the lucky one! This year I am excited about being on the steering committee for the Los Angeles Jewish Teen Initiative. I am thrilled at the prospect of keeping our teens engaged and connected to this precious Jewish community. My Federation journey has been exceptional and I have loved every minute of it.


Kathi Mangel

Kathi Mangel – New Lion

I just committed to being a Lion during the Women’s Mission to Israel this past October. Seeing the Federation’s work firsthand and meeting so many others who share my feelings about the Jewish community inspired me to become more involved. I did not grow up in a Jewish home and converted before my husband Jay and I were married. I knew deep in my heart that it was important for me to raise my children in the Jewish community. Jay was involved with Federation, but I didn’t get involved until after I met Roberta Toporoff on a Federation Mission to Israel. I’m most passionate about our Federation’s work ensuring the Jewish future. If there’s not a Jewish future, there’s no point in doing the rest of our work. It’s very critical. I’m excited to attend the upcoming Lion of Judah luncheon and meet more women who have made this incredible commitment to the Jewish community.


Lesley Wolman – Ruby Chair

I became a Lion in 2009, when my best friend, Julie Platt, was chairing Women’s Philanthropy. I have never looked back. I am a Lion because I believe it is incumbent upon us, as Jewish women, to lead, set examples and live Jewish lives. Not only are we able to give back to a community that gives us an identity and a support network surpassing most, but we are part of something larger than we are as individuals. Federation’s commitment to Israel is of paramount importance to me. Participating in Federation Missions has also been illuminating; I’ve had the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the work we do in Jewish communities in Berlin, Vienna and Argentina, among others.  Another highlight for me is the International Lion of Judah Conference. What could be better than joining hundreds of committed Jewish women from all over the world? I have made wonderful friends there and encourage every Lion to experience it.


If you are interested in becoming a Lion of Judah or attending the Chai/Emerald/Zahav/Ruby & Lion of Judah Luncheon on Wednesday, February 17th, please contact Jenna Fields at (818) 668-2340 or JFields@JewishLA.org for the Valley, or Karen Sternfeld at (323) 761-8275 or KSternfeld@JewishLA.org for the City.

Buy tickets for this year’s Chai/Emerald/Zahav, Ruby & Lion of Judah Luncheon.

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