Since its inception ,innovation has been a hallmark of Bínai Bírith International
In October 1843, twelve German-Jewish immigrants met on New Yorkís Lower
East Side to help others like themselves. Pooling their ideas and their funds, they
founded what would become the most enduring service organization in the United
States. Its name- Bínai Bírith "Children of the Covenant"- mirrored its idealistic
mission: uniting Jews in service to their community and the world.
The organization soon would influence national events in USA.During the Civil War
B'nai B'rith members played leadership roles opposing Gen.Ulysses Grant's attempt
to expel Jews from several states under military rule.President Abraham Lincoln revoked the order.
In 1870, with violence against Jews sweeping Romania, another United States president heard B'nai B'rith speak out. A chastened Grant chose B'nai B'rith President Benjamin Peixotto as honorary U.S.consul to the troubled nation,where he serves for five years without a salary. This set the stage for decades of advocacy by
B'nai B'rith International for Jews around the world.
A Century and a quarter later Bínai Bírith members and staff helped track down
the last known Nazi era concentration camp commandant still at large. Dinko Sakic, the former head of Jasenovac,the "Auschwitz of the Balkans" was alive, unremorseful, and living in Argentina.
Meanwhile, a Bínai Bírith delegation obtained Croatian President Franjo Tudjmanís
pledge to bring war criminals to justice. Later on Argentine television, then
Bínai Bírith International President Tommy Baer appealed for Sakicís arrest and extradition.Argentina complied.
In October 1999, as official observers from Bínai Bírith looked on, Sakic was found
guilty of crimes against humanity by a Croatian court and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In recent years, the efforts of Bínai Bírith International, for Jewish security literally
span the globe.Bínai Bírith is working closely with diplomats, presidents, monarchs
and the Vatican.Leaders in Washington, D.C.,Jerusalem, and around the globe call
Bínai Bírith on issues affecting world Jewry.
Bínai Bírith was among the first to promote secular Jewish learning. In 1851, local
members built Covenant Hall, New Yorkís-and the nationís-first Jewish community
center.The structure included Maimonides Library, the premier Jewish public library.
Today Bínai Bírith still leads the way in informal Jewish education, reaching thousands eager to deepen their knowledge of their Jewish heritage.
Gemilut chasidim, loving-kindness to others, is a core Jewish value. Today, you can
find Bínai Bírith members living these Jewish ideals in communities worldwide
-feeding the hungry Project H.O.P.E and Bagel Brigades, teaching the young and the
old to read, and many more volunteer service projects.
Acting on the mitzvah of tikkun olam, the repair of the world, Bínai Bírith Disaster
Relief Fund has helped survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Mitch,
the war in Kosovo, the 1999 Turkish earthquake and other calamities, natural
From its earliest days,Bínai Bírith has fought the persecution of Jews.In 1913
the Anti-Defamation League was launched.,still battling bigotry with matchless effectiveness today.
Bínai Bírith has played a role at the United Nations since its founding. In the 1990ís
Bínai Bírith helped lead the successful effort to repeal the notorious"Zionism is Racism" resolution.
Today, Bínai Bírith is the only Jewish organization with a full-time presence at the U.N.and the increasingly important European Union in Brussels.,as well as London.
Bínai Bírith has long been active in the land of Israel. As far back as 1865,aiding
cholera victims in the area.Thirty-three years later, founding the first Bínai Bírith
Lodge in Jerusalem-the first public body in centuries to conduct its business there in Hebrew.
Today Bínai Bírith World Center in Jerusalem serves as an important forum for issues
affecting Israel and the Jewish people. The Grand Lodge of Israel and different many
lodges are working today in Israel in every town with the same aim.
Once Bínai Bírith sponsored hospitals and libraries. Now it is carrying out global
programming in five keys: public policy, Jewish identity, community action and youth
and senior services.
Bínai Bírithís Center for Jewish Identity seeks creative ways to promote our shared
heritage. Its innovative programs serve the whole family, from tots to grandparents.
U.S.PRESIDENTS SALUTE B'NAI B'RITHA society formed for the furtherance of such noble purposes as that of B'nai B'rith
should not only excite the enthusiasm of its members,but should also inspire
the good wishes of all who desire to see humanity bettered and the higher instincts of our natura cultivated.
A publication of the 150th anniversary OF B'nai B'rith
Hearty good wishes to B'nai B'rith...all success in its work of strengthening the ties
between man and man,and contributing to the uplift and betterment of humanity
It has been a great educational and enlightening factor in our American life.
I have a great respect for B'nai B'rith because of the good which it has done.
It is a body representative American citizens that deserves the approval and encouragment of all their fellow citizens.
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT
The fine work of B'nai B'rith...undoubtedly contributes to the uplift and betterment
of the nation I have been particularly interested in the work of educationa and philantropy, and the effort to destroy the provincialism of prejudice as between races.
I hope that all America will catch the spirit of B'nai B'rith in campaigning against all
movements aimed to rend the concord of American citizenship.Fraternity must be the abiding purpose of our people.
As my acquaintance with B'NAI B'rith has widened, my regard for its high aims and effective methods has increased.
It is a pleasure to bear witness to the high ideals of public service that animate B'nai B'rith and to the practical intelligence with which its broad policies of social service
and philantropy are carried into execution. Its usefulness,not only in the
United States but also in Europe and the Near East is everywhere recognized with gratitude;while in this country I would especially commend its example in working
for mutual magnanimity, understanding, and cooperation between all races and creeds.
B'nai B'rith has effectively served the well-being of American Jewry and the Nation.Its philantropic achievements are permanently enshrined...its endeavors in the realm of education exhibit a far-sighted understanding in the
problems of the younger generation..its programs of good will strives toward harmony among the component elements comprising our American society.
The fine patriotic service of B'nai B'rith during the war years has earned a Nation's gratitude.What impresses me most is..that we may count upon B'nai B'rith service
during peace as we counted upon it with such good results during war.
I am glad to express my appreciation for B'nai B'rith's achievements in promoting
understanding, cooperation, and good will among Americans of all races and creeds.
I know that the men and women of B'nai B'rith, who have so consistently fought for the freedom and equality of all Americans, will continue to work unselfishly for the
fulfillment of these great principles.
Voluntary organizations such as B'nai B'rith are an essential part of a free society.
The long history and wide range of B'nai B'rith interests have been a positive
and constructive force for a good part of the history of our nation.
You have never tired,you have never faltered, you have never lost faith in your cause:
and your cause has given faith to your nation.You are pro-justice and pro-freedom.
The highest standards of B'nai B'rith, and of the United States, and the humanity
are one and the same today, tomorrow,and in all the years to come.
You ,the sons and daughters of the Covenant, have kept your commitment to Judaism and to America.The glow of your compassion illuminates the best of our nation's
traditional spirit of voluntary service to others.
The men and women of B'nai B'rith share with me a total commitment to the preservation of human rights, liberty and freedom of conscience.
For more than 140 years,B'nai B'rith has sponsored religious, cultural, and civic
programs;conducted studies of vital issues; combatted bigotry;and worked tirelessly
to advance the cause of tolerance and humanity.Because of your efforts,today
our country has a bigger heart a deeper sense of the generosity of spirit that must always define America.
Because it is rooted in a commitment to charity and understanding, your work also
has a positive impact far beyond the Jewish community. I applaud your efforts to
promote cooperation and tolerance among people of all backgrounds,and it is my sincere hope that, as we move forward with our historic efforts to promote peace
in the Middle East, your example will continue to erode barriers of bigotry and mistrust,wherever they exist.