Juli Bear to Receive 2025 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award

Jewish Federation of San Diego lay leader Juli Bear is being honored with the 2025 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for her extraordinary involvement in the local Jewish community.

Recipients of the prestigious, internationally recognized Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award are Lions of Judah who are chosen by their communities as “women of valor” with a lifetime of commitment to the Jewish world. The Lions of Judah set an exemplary standard of leadership and giving and are among the most dynamic philanthropic Jewish women in the world. They are strong women of all ages; an international sisterhood of thousands of global activists who care deeply about the Jewish future. 

All new recipients will be honored during the International Lion of Judah Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2025.

A proud Lion since 2006, Bear has held many leadership roles for Federation, including as a former member of both the National Young Leadership Cabinet and Women’s Philanthropy Board, and as chair for numerous events and campaigns, such as Options, Federation’s Young Leadership Division, the Women’s Heart 2 Heart Mission, and the overall Lion of Judah campaign. She also served as San Diego Chair for the International Lion of Judah Conference. In addition to her involvement with Federation, Bear has served on the boards of Hillel of San Diego, Lawrence Family JCC, and Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

“Juli brings wonderful energy, passion, creativity and a sense of fun to everything she does, and she continues to demonstrate her powerful ability to build strong community,” said Federation President and CEO Heidi Gantwerk. “I am so appreciative of all she does for our Federation as a Lion of Judah. Her tireless efforts make her more than deserving of this recognition.”

When not volunteering her time in support of the Jewish community, Bear operates her own small business as a local ceramic artist. She received a bachelor’s degree from University of Arizona and holds a Master of Social Work from University of Southern California.

Since 2004, the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award has honored extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism. Bear joins past San Diego honorees Sherron Schuster, Andrea Oster, Elaine Galinson, Terri Bignell, Theresa Dupuis, Claire Ellman, Lori Polin, and most recently, Jessica Effress. 

“Juli leads with endless enthusiasm,” Effress said. “She has a uniquely positive energy that makes people want to join her in whatever she is doing. While serving in leadership positions in so many Jewish organizations in San Diego, Juli has been an inspiration to me and so many other women over the years. She is creative and talented in so many ways and is generous in sharing her talents, treasure and time especially in the Jewish community. Juli could not be more deserving of this very distinguished honor!”

For more information, visit jewishinsandiego.org.


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