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A majestic Lion of Judah sculpture is donated to Kiryat Shemona

The Kiryat Shemona Lion is the fourth in the Lion's Trail series in Israel.

Israeli sculptor Sam Philipe with Mayor Amichai Stern. Credit: Courtesy.
Israeli sculptor Sam Philipe with Mayor Amichai Stern. Credit: Courtesy.
Israeli sculptor Sam Philipe (left) with Mayor Amichai Stern. Credit: Courtesy.

A long-term partnership between the Diaspora and Israel resulted in Kiryat Shemona being the beneficiary of a huge Lion’s Trail series sculpture. The Lion is more than 12 feet in height and 7 feet in length. The Lion sits majestically serene, sited at the Route 90 southern entrance to the City for maximum visibility.

Due to the efforts of Mayor Amichai Stern, the Lion was donated by Jerry Klinger of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation to Kiryat Shemona. The Lion is the artistic creation of noted Jerusalem sculptor Sam Philipe. The Lion is part of a national series, which Klinger and Philipe have named, the Lion’s Trail.

Klinger said, “The purpose of the Lion’s Trail is direct. It is a strong, physical affirmation of Jewish historical presence and legitimacy, a Kesher to the Land.  Each Lion has a dedication plate with a biblical text that links the Lion(s) to the site along with a simple declarative sentence, ‘Jews have lived here for over 3,000 years.’”

The Jewish people have, in fact, lived in Kiryat Shemona and or its nearby vicinity for more than 3,000 years.

“Jews,” he continued, “never separated themselves from the Land, though we have been denied our homes here. Today, there are those who want to deny Jews their homes in the Land of Israel again. The Lion stands in the way of the enemies of Israel who say we have never been here and have no right to be here.”

“Without the strong support and leadership of Mayor Amichai Stern, the Lion of Kiryat Shemona never would have been welcome,” Klinger observed. “Mayor Stern recognized the commonality, the bond of Jews here in Kiryat Shemona and Jews everywhere to the Land. He enabled the Lion to be part of the cultural heritage and interpretive beauty that is expressed in Kiryat Shemona’s public art.”

Lions have already been placed in Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Bet Shean, and Kiryat Shemona. Lions will be placed shortly in Ariel, Nesher, Yokneam and the Golan.

The donation marker on the Lion’s base reads:

The Lion’s Trail Kiryat Shemona

“The sixth lot fell to the sons of Naphtali: to the sons of Naphtali according to their families … ” (Joshua 19:32)

The Jewish people have lived here for over 3,000 years.

Donated by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation in cooperation with the Kiryat Shemona Municipality

Sculptor: Sam Philipe, June 2023

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The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation is a non-profit, volunteer organization. The purpose of the society is to identify and recognize sites of American Jewish historical interest. The society sponsors and promotes programs of local and national historic interest. Cooperating with local historical societies, communities, churches and synagogues, the society encourages dialogue and interactive recognition of the commonality of the American experience.
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