Charity, brotherly love, harmony.

History of B`nai B`rith movement in Chernivtsi

Foundation of the first Lodge of B`nai B`rith Orient in Chernivtsy.

Since the twentieth century, B'nai B'rith lodges in Europe have been of particular importance. The first of these was B'nai B'rith Lodge Orient, founded in 1911 in Chernivtsi as a branch of the Central Lodge in Chicago. Its main goals were to honor the moral and spiritual character of the Jewish people, to provide support to Lodge members in case of illness or need, and to care for widows and orphans. The organization was "a closed organization," meaning that new members were elected by secret ballot. Members of the Lodge belonged to the wealthy and intellectual circles of Chernivtsi society. The lodge was also actively involved in philanthropic activities, supporting Jewish organizations such as Mensa Academica Judica, Maccabi sports club, People's Kitchen, Regina Maria organization, and others. Assistance was also provided to people in need. The lodge also sponsored scientific lectures, which were usually of a high level. Some of the long-time presidents of the lodge were Dr. Josef Orenstein, Dr. Jakob Landau, and others.

After its founding in 1911, members of the B`nai B`rith Orient Lodge in Chernivtsi met themselves in a house on Philharmonic Square, on the corner of Beethoven Street. The Lodge meetings were held in a large hall with windows overlooking a rounded balcony on the second floor. Some details testified to this. First of all, the round tower of the house had a weathervane with an all-seeing eye in a triangle, from which rays emanated. Unfortunately, a few years ago it was stolen from the roof in the most shameless way, depriving the city of such an interesting feature. Secondly, the second floor of the building is decorated with four vases depicting ancient Talmudic sages. There is nothing random about these images.

The traditions of the B`nai B`rith brotherhood have always been strong in the city.

Members of the 20s of the 20th century

The Bukovina Lodge of B`nai B`rithh Orient was three-quarters Jewish. Most of them were intellectuals and senior executives in business and local government. Photos of Orient Lodge members include Dr. Max Ennis (top row, third from left), a pharmacist, Dr. Abraham Gutman (top row, right); a tax official, Dr. Max Gottfried (second row from top, sixth from left); and judges, such as Dr. Jacob Rubel (third row from top, left).

Once inside the house, one can see circles on the stair treads with the center erased. It was a common practice in Soviet times to erase the initials of the owners and the dates of construction of buildings, and many of the front and lobby areas were badly damaged. The symbols of the Lodge were also destroyed. Currently, there are three apartments on the second floor of the building, a grocery store on the ground floor, and another room with an entrance from the street.

Lodge Veritas Chernivtsy.

The Veritas Lodge, with a similar program, began its activities in 1913. Initially, Veritas was international in nature, but later (in 1923) it became a purely Jewish organization and was not affiliated with any world organization. Membership was drawn from all walks of life. Veritas supported various Jewish organizations with small amounts of money, such as the Workers' Kitchen, Safa Ivria, Mensa Academica Judicia, and others. Leon Koenig was president for many years.

Lodge “Fraternity”.

In 1923, a group of dissatisfied members created the Fraternity Lodge, which had an international character. For a long time, the presidents of this lodge were Professor Dr. Neumann Wender and banker Edmund Luttinger.

Assistance in marriage for adult girls from low-income families.

In 1912, the Hachnusses Kalah organization was founded. The purpose of the organization was to provide orphaned girls from Chernivtsi with a dowry. The minimum age for girls to receive a dowry was 20 years. Assistance was offered mainly to poor Jewish servant girls. In 1924, the amount of assistance was 4000 Romanian lei.

Helping needy children and orphans.

At the initiative of the couple Nathan and Josephine Horowitz, known for their philanthropy, and with the help of the B'nai B'rith Lodge, a kindergarten for children aged 4 to 7 years old of workers and poor parents was opened in a private house in 1913. This institution was later reopened and expanded in 1913 by Nathan Horowitz as the Association for the Protection of Children. The institution accepted children under the age of 14, as well as full and half-orphans.

Initially, the institution was located in the Home for the Aged, and later (in 1919) in the Public Orphanage. With the help of the Joint and the B'nai B'rith lodge, a building was purchased at 19/21 Siebenbürger Strasse. The orphanage of the Society for the Protection of Children moved there, and at the end of 1923 it already housed 112 orphans. Children stayed in the orphanage until they were 14 years old, where they were fed, clothed, and educated. Talented children were given a full education. Two-thirds of the Association's board of directors were also members of B'nai B'rith Lodge. Of the 112 children mentioned above, 53 were supported by the local B'nai B'rith lodge at the expense of B'nai B'rith Chicago.

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