So poor DB was much maligned for making me “present tense” after Mother’s Day and my birthday. He just made up for it: he went all out for our anniversary, in a generous way.
He had told me about a week before our anniversary that he had “the perfect present.” On Sunday evening he gave me a little red box. Inside was a Lion of Judah pin/pendant.
The pin is worn by women across the country who have donated $5,000 or more to their local Jewish federation, here called United Jewish Communities of MetroWest, or UJC for short. This is a big jump, as my current gift is in the Pomegranate range, $1800 to $3599 (at $3600 you are a Ruby Pom until to get to Lion). And even together with DB’s gift, we don’t give that much currently.
I welled up a bit, and thanked him profusely. I know we cannot afford to more than double my gift while leaving his the same, so I asked, “What are you going to give?” He said he’d give $180, that he didn’t care who’s name the larger gift was in. That, also, is a generous gift.
Most of you, probably, are saying ‘oh that’s nice’ without a raised heartbeat. When I told the first couple people, that’s the reaction I got. But then Wednesday morning I went to the Women’s Philanthropy Annual Meeting, and I told my friends Rebecca Gold, Lisa Lisser, and Leslie Dannin Rosenthal. Rebecca almost knocked me over hugging me, and I think Leslie teared up. THAT’S the reaction I wanted. They understood what it meant to “wear your heart on the outside,” I think Rebecca said (she was depriving me of oxygen at the time squeezing me, so I’m not sure). Lisa called DB later to personally congratulate and thank him.
It’s funny: to be frank, I don’t really like the design of the pin. (Am I starting out as a bad Lion?) It is so dated looking. Somebody redesign the thing for the 21st century, please! And today I was in the jewelry store trying to find a necklace to wear it on – very difficult, as it needs something thick to balance it and the price of gold is redonkulous. One woman I know has two Lion pins, one from MetroWest and one from giving to federation directly in Israel. The Israeli Lion is beautiful with much cleaner lines. Someday…
But I will wear my Lion with pride, because it wasn’t given to me for the looks of it. It’s the meaning: it means we – I – am fortunate enough to make a substantial commitment to a cause I love. It means I am standing up and saying, “Jewish people here, in Israel, and around the world, I got your back.” Because truly, no one else will if we don’t.
For our anniversary combined with Father’s Day, I got DB a new grill. He’s happy too.
PS – In a hysterical side note, when I googled “Lion of Judah pin” to find a photograph (then I decided to photograph my own), I went to the first site to come up, the Orlando Jewish Federation. On that page was a photo of who? ME! Fer reals! My friend Lisa Lisser and I had our photo taken during the 2007 national Ben Gurion Mission to Israel by a federation PR photog and that image has made the federation rounds since – I’ve heard from friends that were are on the Baltimore JFS website (I checked, we’re not there anymore), and are currently on the federation sites in San Diego and Miami, and now this one. I’m honored to literally be the postergirl for UJC!