First Unity Lodge
he first ‘unity lodge’ in the world First Unity Lodge was inaugurated in January 1973. It was the first B'nai B'rith joint men’s and women’s Lodge in the world. (See the history of our lodge below). Some of the original participants are still members!
Having run an active programme by email keeping our members connected and stimulated with quizzes, poetry, diary entries, memoirs and word games in the first lockdowns in 2020/21, First Unity Lodge has now moved on to meeting regularly on Zoom and even arranging a few face-to-face meetings for those who prefer this.
For 2022, First Unity Lodge will be holding fortnightly Sunday evening Zoom events. These provide an opportunity for everyone to ‘see’ each other and also chat as they would at a face-to-face meeting. Each session addresses a theme, or we invite a guest. We also encourage members to attend the BBUK lectures.
Our Lodge Zoom meetings are ‘member based’ with both serious and fun subjects. These have including members talking about their career paths and a favourite work of art. They have shared stories about famous or infamous ancestors and had a ‘balloon debate’ where Snow White and Marie Curie, amongst others, fought for their place in the hot air balloon.
In addition, this year we have arranged a ‘Pick & Mix’ Programme for members with ‘special interests’. These are each led by a lodge member who is skilled in that subject. He or she recruits their followers and arranges to meet on a regular basis, on Zoom or face to face as appropriate. The groups focus on: Jewish History, Current Affairs, Ivrit Conversation, Music Appreciation, Knit & Natter and Photograph. There is even a walking group and a still life drawing and painting session – on Zoom!. These are all proving very popular with our members.
We are a friendly group of about 80 plus members (several of whom are aged 80 plus) and would welcome visitors and new members. We are widely spread over North London, but with Zoom it does not matter where you are based, we will welcome people from anywhere in the world. Anyone interested to join us should please contact us
The history of First Unity Lodge
First Unity Lodge was established by group of young people, many being children of Leo Baeck Lodge members. They created a B’nai B’rith Circle in 1960. They liked each other’s company and enjoyed what B’nai B’rith stood for, so they next established themselves as the Sir Basil Henriques Young Adult Lodge in 1963. The members were determined to grow up in a single lodge. However, they had to wait a while.
When they no longer qualified as ‘Young Adults’, a First Unity Mens’ Lodge and First Unity Womens’ Lodge had to satisfy in 1967. The name ‘Unity’ was chosen because we wanted to unite into one Lodge. It was also an apt name as that was the time when Jerusalem was re-united after the Six Day War and when the Jewish communities of the Diaspora united to support the Israelis.
All the while, our Board wrestled with the parent bodies to allow lodges with men and women together.
At last, we were enabled to become a Unity Lodge in December 1972 and were inaugurated as First Unity Lodge in January 1973. (I was, in fact, the first person inaugurated into the first Unity lodge, as I had refused to join the women’s’ lodge.)
Geraldine Auerbach MBE
Programme of events