Jane Brenner - Lion of Judah and 2022 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award Winner*
I am originally from LaSalle-Peru, a small town in Illinois, where I was the only Jewish student in my high school. I learned my commitment to Jewish charities by example from my family. My parents were active in Jewish organizational leadership locally and nationally. Our synagogue, Temple B'nai Moshe (LaSalle) was founded by my great-grandparents. My parents always felt responsible to give back and were involved in every aspect of our Jewish community with a goal to preserve Jewish values and culture for future generations. Later, when I was in high school, our family moved to El Paso, Texas; I joined the temple youth group immediately and discovered Jewish summer camp (Camp Swig) in California!
I met my husband in college at UCSD and his work brought us to Irvine over 35 years ago; our children now live here as do many of our extended family. My first connection in Orange County was Women’s ORT, and we are longtime members of University Synagogue. I wanted to connect to other Jewish organizations which led me to Federation, which has been a great opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way. I’ve met diverse, like-minded women from all walks of life whom I would not likely have met otherwise -- women who share my charitable values, and want to do something outside of themselves. I’ve met so many wonderful people and mentors whom I admire and aspire to emulate. Federation has really become my home for helping serve the Jewish community of Orange County and beyond.
*Jane Brenner will receive the prestigious Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award at the International Lion of Judah Conference this year. This award, created by National Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federations of North America, honors extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy, volunteerism, and a lifetime of commitment to the Jewish world. It is named in memory of Lion of Judah co-founders Norma Kipnis Wilson and Toby Friedland. Today, more than 18,000 Lions of Judah worldwide contribute $5,000 or more annually in their own names to a Jewish Federation Annual Campaign.