The Goals and Philosophy of B’nai B‘rith
The ideals and goals of the twelve German Jews who established the first B’nai B’rith lodge in New York in 1843 have changed very little. Under the leadership of Henry Jones, it was intended that an organisation would evolve that would lead to the creation of a fraternity that would be firmly rooted in Jewish ethics but would be outside of the communities themselves. The principles that the lodge is based on are the same today as they were then:
Brotherly and sisterly love and
Unity and harmony.
At that time in America, they set themselves the following tasks; to raise the spiritual and moral standards of the Jews, to teach the principles of human kindness, to help promote the arts and sciences, to help people in need, to support the victims of persecution and to foster the solidarity of the Jewish community.
They also wanted to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, secure a stronger commitment to the creation of a Jewish identity and prepare young Jewish adults to take on leading roles within the Jewish communities. When the lodge was established, the State of Israel did not exist. Today, the members of B’nai B’rith have a strong connection to Israel and a good deal of the work of the lodge is actually focused on providing spiritual, moral and financial support to the State of Israel.
B’nai B’rith stands for the undeniable solidarity with the weak and respect for the sanctity of human dignity and the principle of tolerance. We are concerned with everything that is honorable and just but, even where these values are lacking, we still get involved. Bent Melchior, the Chief Rabbi Emeritus of Denmark and Honorary Lifetime President of B’nai B’rith Europe, puts it this way; „Do worry, be happy“. That is the mission and goal of B’nai B’rith.