2017-08-30 / Voice at the Shore

Nancy Rubin receives Lion of Judah’s “Woman of Valor” award

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor

Nancy Rubin (left) received the Lion of Judah (LOJ) Society Kipnis/Friedland Award from local Lion of Judah Society co-chair Judy Galler at last month’s LOJ meeting.Nancy Rubin (left) received the Lion of Judah (LOJ) Society Kipnis/Friedland Award from local Lion of Judah Society co-chair Judy Galler at last month’s LOJ meeting.Nancy Rubin has always felt personally responsible for taking care of her Jewish community.

“If we don’t support our people, who will? It’s our responsibility to support our people, to give tzedakah if we can,” she said, noting: “My family has been blessed to be in a position to do this.”

Rubin, an active mother and grandmother, has lived by this deeply-held value for her entire adult life, serving in countless volunteer leadership positions for the local Jewish community—including as past president of the local Jewish Federation and its Board of Jewish Education, past Federation campaign chair, and a past president of Congregation Beth Judah (now Shirat Hayam).

She was also one of the area’s first members of the Federation’s philanthropy group for women, the Lion of Judah Society, which Federation describes as “an international sisterhood of thousands of global activists who care deeply about the Jewish future.” Through their Federation gifts of at least $5,000 annually, as well their leadership, “Lions of Judah play a vital role in creating social justice, aiding the vulnerable, preserving human dignity, and building Jewish identity.”

At last month’s Lion of Judah meeting, held on a beautiful, sunny afternoon at the Ventnor shore house of a Cherry Hill-area Lion, Rubin was honored for her lifelong commitment to the Jewish community. Judy Galler, co-chair of the shore-area Lions, presented Rubin with Lion of Judah’s Kipnis/Friedland Award—a Woman of Valor Award recognizing her “dedication to the continued strength and well-being of the Jewish people.” Notably, Rubin was among a select group of women nominated by their communities to receive this award from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) at the Lion of Judah conference last fall, which Rubin had been unable to attend. 

“Nancy has been an inspiration to all of us,”Galler told the group of roughly 30 Lions from both the shore and Cherry Hill areas. “Without Nancy, this would be an incredibly different community.”

“She’s a guiding light, a great leader,” noted Galler, who has served alongside of Rubin on various boards and projects for the past 25 years. “Whenever there was an event, campaign, mission or some kind of project, she got it done. She is also kind to people,” said Galler, a Lion who is a past award winner. 

“I’ve kind of followed in her footsteps. She is a very special woman,” added Galler, who has also said she fondly remembers spending time on Federation missions to the Ukraine and elsewhere with Rubin, who usually packed a bottle of wine to share with others in her suitcase. 

Rubin said her many years of working for the betterment of the community have been extremely rewarding. Most rewarding has been “to create a feeling of oneness in this community. I would like to think that in my years of working in this community I have always tried to do that. Over the years, we’ve worked diligently to get agencies to work together as one.”

Rubin, the second local woman to become a Lion of Judah, was the very first woman at the shore to endow her gift, noted Friedman. To do this, a Lion gives a gift of at least $100,000 that is invested so that the community receives $5,000 per year from the endowment in perpetuity. It is truly a gift that keeps giving.

In making this substantial contribution, Rubin became part of a relatively small group of philanthropic women whose endowments make a huge impact. According to JFNA, “$590 million in assets has been pledged by the 3,600 women who have created a Lion of Judah endowment.”

Women like Nancy Rubin “are really guaranteeing the future of the Jewish community through their guaranteed perpetual gift to the Jewish community every year,” said Kirk Wisemayer, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties.

Rubin credits her late husband, Dr. Samuel Rubin (z”l), with her decision to create a Lion of Judah endowment (LOJE). As a board member for the Federation’s Community Foundation, Dr. Rubin heard about the LOJE program when it was first created. “He thought it was a wonderful idea,” Nancy recalled. “It would ensure the giving went on forever.”

The Rubins, who moved to the area as newlyweds in 1968, became very active in the Jewish community starting in the early 1980s. Both felt strongly “about our responsibility to the community, of taking care of the next generation and of the older generation.”

Dr. Rubin liked the idea of the endowment because he feared the younger generation might not be as supportive of the Jewish community, noted Nancy. “Now I see how foresighted he was!”

In receiving her award, Rubin gave a heartfelt thank you to all of her fellow Lions. “Each woman in this room deserves this award,” she said. “Each of you is a partner in this award,” she added, noting that working in partnership will so many other women committed to the Jewish community “enriched my life and made it a joyous, fulfilling journey in this community for the past 45 years.” 

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