Started in 1843 on New York’s lower east side to combat what founder Isaac Rosenbourg called the “deplorable condition of Jews” in the United States, B’nai B’rith (Children of the Covenant) has grown from its humble beginnings to become a forceful global leader in the advancement of human rights.
When Rosenbourg, Henry Jones, and a handful of other German-Jewish immigrants gathered in Sinsheimer’s Café, their first action was to create an insurance policy awarding members’ widows a small sum of money toward funeral expenses and a stipend for widows and children. Additionally, male children were offered the promise that they would be taught a trade.
Over the next 175 years, B’nai B’rith has stayed true to their original mission of making the world a safer, more tolerant place and promoting Jewish unity.
As the recognized global voice of the Jewish community, B’nai B’rith remains rooted in these pillars:
Human Rights and Public Policy: Through the Office of Intercommunal Affairs, B’nai B’rith cultivates religious tolerance and combats anti-Semitism and abuse of human rights worldwide.
Supporting and Defending Israel: B’nai B’rith champions Israel at the United Nation and its affiliated agencies as well as in other international organizations. Additionally, its World Center in Jerusalem sponsors cultural programs, IsraAid and other Israeli relief organizations.
Senior Advocacy and Housing: As the largest Jewish sponsor of federally subsidized housing for the elderly in the US, B’nai B’rith works directly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make apartments available for senior citizens with limited income. With locations in the US and Canada, B’nai B’rith housing is available to qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Helping Communities: B’nai B’rith has been committed to helping communities that have fallen victim to disasters since 1865. Volunteers remain active in a variety of projects including distributing food to elderly Jewish residents, schools and shelters.