What is B'nai B'rith
’nai B’rith is an international organisation, which brings together Jews from all backgrounds, with the aims of strengthening the Jewish community, combating racial and religious intolerance, and helping the less fortunate.
B'nai B'rith is not a religious organisation but one that exists to unite all Jews, regardless of their affiliation for the common good. Our membership spans the whole Jewish community.
B'nai B'rith translates from the Hebrew to mean ``Children of the Covenant``. This refers to the Covenant between G-d and Abraham who was the first Jew.
It is the oldest Jewish service organisation, founded in New York in 1843 by 12 German Jewish immigrants and since then generations of Jewish people around the world have been helping others in need through their membership and activities. It now operates in 59 countries and has official status at the UN as an NGO and we are represented at the EU in Brussels. B’nai B’rith is a powerful voice for Jewish security and continuity and is respected all over the world as ``The Global Voice of the Jewish People``.
Since our foundation the symbol of B'nai B'rith has been the menorah. Each branch represents the seven principles of B'nai B'rith : ``Benevolence, Brotherly and Sisterly Love, Harmony, Truth, Peace, Light and Justice``.
How B’nai B’rith operates
BBUK comes under the overall umbrella of B’nai B’rith International based in Washington.
We operate as a network of Lodges or Groups each with its own programme of diverse activities tailored to the interests of the group. These can include discussions, speakers, theatre outings, dining groups, rambles, cultural visits and musical events. Each Lodge/Group has a President/Chairman and an organising committee, which arranges the programme and looks after the finances. Members pay an annual subscription, which is passed to BBUK head office and funds raised for charitable projects go directly to charity via the head office.
We also have a National Membership for those unable to join a local group. This allows access to all BBUK activities.
What does B’nai B’rith do?
- Raises money for the underprivileged in Qiryat Gat, Israel
- Supports a medical programme for elderly Jews and Righteous Gentiles in Kiev, Ukraine
- Through the Concerts for Shoes Programme, raises money to buy shoes for children in the Tikva Children’s Home in Odessa, Ukraine
- Contributes to and organises the annual European Days of Jewish Culture & Heritage
- Its Bureau of International Affairs engages with the Foreign Office and foreign embassies on behalf of Jews, Israel and minority people globally
- Supports an annual Moral Leadership course for the Armed Forces Jewish Community
- Provides scholarships for Jewish engineering undergraduates
- Provides a social framework through its lodge structure
- Contributes to B’nai B’rith International, which works to protect human rights, combat anti-Semitism and to regenerate Jewish identity in Eastern Europe