Judy Guten wins rare Lion of Judah accolade | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Judy Guten wins rare Lion of Judah accolade  


Judy Guten has been selected to receive the 2022 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award, a noted accolade for one woman in a community who exemplifies the spirit of the Lion of Judah. 

“I truly appreciate the Jewish community,” Guten said. “I believe in it, trust in its future, and know that it will always remain relevant to each Jewish person’s well-being. It will remain relevant through our ongoing commitment and our courage by making strong decisions and by backing them up with resolve.” 

All Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award recipients are to be honored at an upcoming International Lion of Judah Conference. Lion of Judah women are an international sisterhood of thousands of global activists who care deeply about the Jewish future. The network is affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America and, locally, with Milwaukee Jewish Federation.  

“Judy’s dedication to our community over the past several decades exemplifies how the Federation is stronger together — her unwavering commitment as a mentor to countless volunteers and professionals is priceless,” said Miryam Rosenzweig, president and CEO of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.  

Guten said she feels grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on behalf of the Jewish community. She’s grateful, too, for her women mentors in the community. “Our Milwaukee Jewish community, has throughout my years as a community volunteer, offered unparalleled excellence in learning – in being part of community – growth – and opportunities to help make the world a better place,” Guten said.  

“Judy Guten has been a matriarch of this community throughout the generations. Besides meeting the extensive criteria of the award, she is an exemplary role model of someone you want in your community, influencing others, as a leader and as a friend,” said Milwaukee Jewish Federation Director of Women’s Philanthropy Diane Zall. 

Those criteria include having been a Lion of Judah for at least 10 years and has maintained continuous involvement and commitment; created a Lion of Judah Endowment; made a significant impact in the local Jewish community, in Israel and/or abroad; and used her leadership in creative ways to address community challenges and issues. 

Also, one must embody the spirit and vision of Lion of Judah through a commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam, among other criteria.  

“Judy has always been a strong supporter of Women’s Philanthropy leadership,” said Cheryl Moser, Woman’s Philanthropy board president. “The last time we shared actual space together was at the Women’s Philanthropy past leadership brunch prior to the pandemic. Sharyl Paley and I had asked for advice as we moved forward in our leadership roles. Judy’s advice was to keep Women’s Philanthropy relevant – how do we make it meaningful to the women of today? I often reflect back on this advice as we plan and program within Women’s Philanthropy.” 

Guten is a devoted volunteer in many ways, having chaired missions to Israel, served as Women’s Division president, chaired the agency relations/community planning committee and served as president of both Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC. Guten has also, for Federation, served as chair of the Women’s Division Campaign, chair of the Capital Campaign and co-chair, with Jerry Benjamin, of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Reimagining Project. Guten has served as a member of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Board of Directors. 

“Simply speaking, the Jewish community is part of my fiber. It is not what I do. It is who I am. Over the years, I watched those ahead of me stay active. Stay concerned. Stay contributing. Now I am there. And I understand,” Guten said.  

“How does one turn off – or say one is done with – family? Watching the rough edges and wanting to make them smooth?  Seeing threats and feeling the stress?  Witnessing the huge achievements that we can all be proud of, and feeling stronger? One doesn’t leave when one loves family.   The Jewish community, as my family, has fed me, wrapped me in warmth, been a place to just be me.  And it has opened its heart to me to bring my strengths – my concerns – my hopes to the table.” 

“The Federation movement is family and families are stronger together,” said Joan Lubar, Milwaukee Jewish Federation board chair. “Judy’s work will continue to live on for generations in our Federation family, which we are so grateful. She is an example for all of us to stay rooted in family — the one you’re born into, the family you create with your friends and your Federation family.”