Jewish service organization, founded in New York City in 1843. The Independent Order of B’nai B’rith ("sons of the covenant") engages in educational and philanthropic programs in the areas of youth work, adult education, veterans' services, civic projects, international affairs, and aid to Israel, among others. There are also lodges in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Supreme Lodge is located in Washington, D.C. It claims to represent Jewish public opinion in the U.S. because of the breadth of its membership. Its Anti-Defamation League was established in 1913, and the Hillel Foundations in 1923. In 1990 B’nai B’rith International admitted women into full membership.
Bibliography: e. e. grusd, B’nai B’rith; the Story of a Covenant (New York 1966). d. malkam, La fantastique histoire du B’nai B’rith: la plus importante organisation humanitaire juive mondiale (Paris 1993).
[j. j. dougherty/eds.]