10 August 2020
Greater Washington’s Lions of Judah are stepping up and leading our community during this public health and economic crisis. Through Federation’s Lion+ campaign, Lions can showcase the power of their collective philanthropy to ensure a stronger and more vibrant Jewish community. This week, we connected with Jess Sher, Ora DC Co-Chair, member of National Young Leadership Cabinet, and Forever Lion (Lion of Judah Endowment), to learn more about what motivates her support of Federation, particularly during this critical moment.
How did you get involved in Federation? Why did you become a Lion?
I grew up in St. Petersburg, FL in a family deeply involved in the Jewish community, with Federation playing a foundational role. When I moved to Washington, DC, I made a conscious decision to build a vibrant Jewish life—with Federation at the center.
My parents and grandparents’ leadership in my home community showed me that I wanted to take on a similar type of role in the DC Jewish community. I wanted to lead, not only philanthropically, but also through my learning and engagement. Being a member of [The Jewish Federations of North America’s] National Young Leadership Cabinet has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined, and I am extremely proud of becoming a Lion of Judah like my mom and grandmother before me.
What inspired you to establish a legacy for Federation?
I love being Jewish; I love the values that our religion holds most sacred; and through Federation, I’ve learned that as much as I give through my time and my resources, I gain back tenfold through friendships, experiences, and impact.
What has it meant for you to have established your Lion of Judah Endowment during this unprecedented time in our community and world?
Creating my endowment—especially before turning 40—was an expression of my love for the Jewish community and my desire to support it for years to come. I am driven to be a Lion by my core Jewish values and my connection to the Jewish community. Now, more than ever, I feel the responsibility to put my values into action and make sure that I continue to support—and even increase my support—at one of the most difficult times in recent memory. When I see the changes caused by COVID-19, I know that while I need to support the current moment, my endowment will ensure the continuity of all of Federation’s work for years to come.
This summer, join hundreds of Lions for the Lion+ Campaign by September 1— a call to elevate your philanthropy and lead our community towards a vibrant Jewish future.