A Special Lion+ Q&A with Jocelyn Krifcher

Lion Plus. Taking pride in building community.


Jocelyn KrifcherGreater 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 Jocelyn Krifcher, Federation’s Vice President of Financial Resource Development, to learn more about what inspires her support of Federation, particularly during this critical moment.

What does being a Lion mean to you and how are you seeing those values come alive in this moment?
These turbulent times have made me think a lot about what it means to be free, what it means to do good, and what it means to be part of a community that cares. One of my favorite commentaries from the Talmud comes to mind, “Bizchut Nashim Tzidkaniyot Nigalu Avoteinu Mimitzraim.” “Because of the merit of the righteous women, our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt.” From this, I understand that Jewish women have always played a unique and pivotal role in the creation of a better society and a better world; we are real, live action heroes. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once said, “When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately; families are healthy; they are better fed; their income, savings, and investment go up. And what is true of families is true of communities, and eventually, of whole countries.” This is why I became a Lion over 20 years ago and why I wear my Lion pin with pride. It is a constant reminder to me of the power of women as activists, change makers, and perhaps most importantly in today’s world, the moral conscience of our society.

How do you understand Lions as partners in supporting and building the Greater Washington community?
The children of Israel were wandering in the desert following centuries of slavery. While a history of slavery is not exactly the ideal breeding ground for community building, even after God performed incredible miracles, like taking us out of Egypt, dividing the sea, giving us water from a rock and manna from heaven, we were still no more than a group of whiny ingrates. The idea of peoplehood, collective responsibility, Klal Yisrael, and community, clearly had no place in our selfish, complaint-filled universe. In fact, we even built a golden calf after we received the Torah! If all these miracles failed to transform us into a community, what will?

Well – here’s what did: God pulls us from a slave mentality to a constructive one. God instructs us to build something and for us to provide the materials for its construction. And we respond, we gave and gave generously.

The building of the Tabernacle pulled us away from being slaves. It gave us a sense of responsibility and identity. It turned us into a cohesive group. It transformed us into a community.

I believe that the underlying motivation for all of us who are involved in the community, who choose to give to the community, who choose to be Lions, is to ensure that our society is the opposite of the slave society that characterized our beginnings. What we want for ourselves and our children is a free society, a just society, a society driven to be a force for good.

What we want is the home, the community, the society that can only be built if we build together. It is only by becoming donors and builders that we turn from passive complainers to active change makers. But, this transformation to a free people must be earned by what we do and what we give.

No one understands this better than Lions of Judah. We understand that we must stand up and be counted, that we have to give a little bit more every year, and that we have to be leaders and role models, not only to other girls and women, but to the entire community.

Part of our Lion+ program involves making a planned gift to the Federation. You endowed your Lion of Judah gift at the same time that you became a Lion. Tell me about that decision.
Every decision we make and every action we take becomes part of the legacy that we leave behind to our children, grandchildren, and community. Philanthropy is one of the building blocks of my legacy. Philanthropy in general, and endowing my Lion gift, specifically, creates the bridge that spans the gap between my good intentions and my actions. Regardless of how long I will still be of this physical world, my gift to my precious community will be made every year, forever more.

If every Lion in our community endowed a Lion gift, not only would her life be enriched, but our world and our children’s world would be a better place. We can rededicate ourselves to ensuing that our children and their children inherit an exemplary society that they deserve, and, in turn, transform our lives into the stuff that legacies and legends are made of.

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.