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B'nai B'rith: Wikis


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B'nai B'rith membership certificate, 1876.

B'nai B'rith International (English pronunciation: /bəˌneɪ ˈbrɪθ/; Hebrew: בני ברית, "Sons of the Covenant") is the oldest continually operating Jewish service organization in the world. It was founded in New York City by Henry Jones and 11 others on October 13, 1843.

B'nai B'rith is engaged in a wide variety of community service and welfare activities, including the promotion of Jewish rights and the state of Israel, assisting hospitals and victims of natural disasters, awarding scholarships to Jewish college students, sponsoring low-income senior housing, and opposing anti-Semitism through its Center for Human Rights and Public Policy.[1] With nearly 100,000 members and supporters, B'nai B'rith International reaches more than 50 countries around the world to increase the welfare of resident Jews.

Until 2001, B'nai B'rith sponsored the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO), which is now BBYO, Inc.



B'nai B'rith was founded in New York City by Henry Jones and 11 others on October 13, 1843.[2]

B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO), an organization for high school-age Jewish teens, was founded in 1923, and comprises the boys' order, Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA), and the girls' order, B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG).[3] In 2001 BBYO was spun off as BBYO, Inc.

The B'nai B'rith building in Washington D.C. was one of three buildings taken over in the 1977 Hanafi Siege. Muslim gunmen holding hostages made several demands, including the demand that the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God be destroyed because they considered it sacrilegious."[4]


B'nai B'rith International bestows various recognitions and awards, including its Presidential Gold Medal awarded every few years to honor the recipient's commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Recipients have included David Ben Gurion, John F. Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, Stephen Harper, and Golda Meir. In November 2005, the Gold Medal was given to former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky,[5][6] and in May 2006, it was awarded to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ The History of B'nai B'rith
  2. ^ Materials for historical research: The Western Jewish History Center, of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, in Berkeley, California has a large collection of historical records and papers, membership ledgers, correspondence, reports, and photographs that document the history of B'nai B'rith's Grand District Number Four (which included the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, as well as the Canadian Province of British Columbia) for the years 1963–92.
    The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego houses over 10 collections of materials about San Diego B'nai B'rith Men's Lodges and Women's Chapters, which date back to 1887.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Theresa Vargas (March 12, 2007). "'Some Things You Never Forget': Thirty years ago, gunmen stormed three D.C. buildings, taking 150 hostages and one life". Washington Post. p. B01.  
  5. ^ / News
  6. ^ / Bnai B´rith-Medaille für Altkanzler Vranitzky
  7. ^ B'nai B'rith Australia / NZ
  8. ^ B'nai B'rith Award Ceremony Honors Australian Prime Minister John Howard

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

B'NAI B'RITH (or [[Sons Of The Covenant), Independent ' 'Order Of]], a Jewish fraternal society. It was founded at New York in 1843 by a number of German Jews, headed by Henry Jones, and is the oldest as well as the largest of the Jewish fraternal organizations. Its membership in 1908 was 35,870, its 481 lodges and 10 grand lodges being distributed over the United States, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Rumania, Egypt and Palestine. Its objects are to promote a high morality among Jews, regardless of differences as to dogma and ceremonial customs, and especially to inculcate the supreme virtues of charity and brotherly love. Political and religious discussions were from the first excluded from the debates of the order. In 1851 the first grand lodge was established at New York; in 1856, the number of district lodges having increased, the supreme authority was vested in a central body consisting of one member from each lodge; and by the present constitution, adopted in 1868, this authority is vested in a president elected for five years, an executive committee and court of appeals (elected as before). The first lodge in Germany was instituted at Berlin in 1883. A large number of charitable and other public institutions have been established in the United States and elsewhere by the order, of which may be mentioned the large orphan asylum in Cleveland, the home for the aged and infirm at Yonkers, N.Y., the National Jewish hospital for consumptives at Denver, and the Maimonides library in New York City. The B'nai B'rith society has also co-operated largely with other Jewish philanthropic organizations in succouring distressed Israelites throughout the world.

See the Jewish Encyclopaedia (1902), s.v.

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