Waves B'nai B'rith

  • Issue: August 1993
  • Designer: G. Almaliah & A. Shevo
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 193
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

B'nai B'rith ("Children of the Covenant"), is the world's largest Jewish membership organization and the first international service organization founded in North America. It was established in 1843 in New York to promote Jewish culture and identity, defend Jewish interests and work for the betterment of society.

Today, hundreds of thousands people in six continents belong to B'nai B'rith. On October 13, 1993 B'nai B'rith will celebrate its 150th anniversary - a milestone in modern Jewish history.

It was the splintering of the small American Jewish community, a century and a halt ago, that motivated 12 German-speaking Jews to create a movement that became a unifying force for Jews of varied origins, religious viewpoints and economic backgrounds. Those founding members initiated B'nai B'rith's first service program by contributing $60 to a fund for widows and orphans. This year B'nai B'rith will spend more than 25 million dollars on education, social services, youth activities and other community programs.

With headquarters in Washington D.C and over 20 district offices around the world, B'nai B'rith has succeeded in adapting its programs to the changing needs of world Jewry; in 1851, long before the term 'anti-Semitism' was coined, B'nai Brith fought its first campaign against persecution of Jews when it persuaded the United States Congress to insist on the removal of anti-Jewish restrictions in several Swiss cantons. In 1870, President Grant appointed former B'nai B'rith President Benjamin Peixotto as U.S. consul in Bucharest. Peixotto helped alleviate the hardship suffered by Jews in Romania and was instrumental in having minority rights safeguarded by treaty. In 1936 and again in 1941 B'nai B'rith provided funds to the Jewish National Fund for the purchase of large tracts of land in Palestine. Today, the settlements of Moledet B'nai B'rith and Ramat Tzvi (in memory of former B'nai B'rith International President Henry - Tzvi - Monsky) stand on this land. In 1946 B'nai B'rith was the first civilian organization to be honoured by both the U.S Army and Navy for service rendered during the second world war. B'nai B'rith leaders played a crucial role in securing an audience for Chaim Weizmann, then Chairman of the World Zionist Organization with U.S. President Harry Truman. This meeting helped ensure the President's continued support for the U.N partition plan, which created the State of Israel.

B'nai B'rith activity in Eretz Israel goes back well over 100 years with the establishment, in 1888, of the "Jerusalem Lodge" which became a driving force in the New Yishuv.

At the urging of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, who served as lodge secretary, the Jerusalem lodge became the first Jewish organization in the Yishuv to adopt Hebrew as its language of business. Today, B'nai B'rith Israel (District #14) operates numerous social service programs throughout Israel, focusing on assistance to new immigrants, students and the needy.

In 1981, the B'nai B'rith World Center was established in Jerusalem to serve as the permanent and official presence of the organization in Israel's capital, serving all the organization's agencies through varied programs.

Today, B'nai B'rith's international network includes:

As B'nai B'rith enters its sesquicentennial year, it rededicates itself to strengthening Jewish community life, to the support of the State of Israel, and to promoting social justice, human rights and democratic ideals around the world.

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150th anniversary of B'nai B'rith