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First Unity Lodge

First Unity Lodge

T

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!

Over the past year and more, our members have done all they can in caring for each other and for our troubled world. We realise we have to brace ourselves at our age (average 70s to 90s) for the fact that we are not all in the best of health. And alas we have lost several dear members during that period. Our lodge was also fortunate in gaining five new members, some of them from other lodges that have not been as fortunate as we are, to keep going so strongly.

In 2023 First Unity Lodge held roughly two meetings a month. These alternated fortnightly between evening ‘COZy’ member-based Zoom talks (with 15 to 23 screens), and afternoon face-to-face meetings (attended by 25-30). This arrangement worked well, enabling members who don’t go out at night to see each other in the daytime.

The programme included talks on the Jewish East End and life as a film extra, a royalty quiz in June for the Coronation, the experience of a Ukrainian making a new life in England, sharing reminiscences of school days and funny driving experiences, musical themes and even a magic show. A long break for festivals falling at weekends came to a very abrupt end on 7th October. Consequently, we immediately changed our planned programme to a Zoom enabling members to support each other and talk about their friends and family in Israel. We also encourage members to attend the BBUK Zoom lectures.

In addition, we have continued our recent initiative of Special Interest Groups.  Each is led by a lodge member skilled in that subject, who recruits their followers and arranges to meet on a regular basis, on Zoom or face to face as appropriate. The groups currently active are Knit & Natter, Snap It! Photography, Bridge and the newest – First Unity Lunches, with a visit every 6-8 weeks to a local restaurant. We vary both the day of the week and the venue so that a lunch will always be within reach of some of our members. We also hope to bring back Book Chatter, French and Hebrew Conversation, Walking and Music Appreciation later in the year.

We are a friendly group of about 70 members (mostly aged 70 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

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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

BBUK Lodge People in Conversation

Programme of events


Contact

For more information about First Unity Lodge, please contact us.