In a gesture of joy and unity, B'nai B'rith members in San Antonio and community leaders proudly stood with the Alamo City Lodge's charter in celebrating the organization's 170th Anniversary. The lodge itself was founded July 23, 1874. The event was held at the Barshop JCC on Oct. 6, one week before B'nai B'rith's actual founding in New York.
Chuck Kaufman, senior international vice president of B'nai B'rith, thanked the lodge for its continued support. He reminded them that like the Jewish people throughout millennia, B'nai B'rith "continues to show its resilience" through innovative programing, committed volunteers and talented staff.
"Increased challenges facing Jews throughout the world make B'nai B'rith that much more relevant today than ever," he said. "Thanks to you, B'nai B'rith remains the world's most enduring and prestigious Jewish organization. Its work at the United Nations, notably in New York and Geneva, in disaster relief at home and overseas; through advocacy on behalf of Israel; for senior housing in the United States and Canada and so much more, shows how B'nai B'rith continues to light the way for Jews throughout the world."
Kaufman offered a whirlwind global tour of immediate B'nai B'rith activities over a 30-day span of time. "Multiply this kind of activity over the past five years, 100 or 150 years and now 170 years," he added. "Our work continues to grow exponentially in volume and in importance."
He reminded the Alamo City audience that through the revolutionary digital world, specifically through various social media platforms, "we are finding new ways to share our story; and our numbers of donor/members is rising rapidly. Our reach is expanding. We see the fires of engagement on social media burning brightly, from less than a few hundred just last year to more than 20,000 today.
"Because of our timeless mission and our important content, our Facebook page is one of the fastest growing sites and one of the most liked sites in the Jewish world," he said. "Now you can experience the B'nai B'rith world delivering unparalleled participation, service and enlightenment, from the United States to Europe, from South America to South Africa. You can witness and actually participate in the core value that every Jew is responsible for one another either in-person or without leaving your desk."
Kaufman invited the members and guests to pull out their smart phones and connect on Facebook with B'nai B'rith International and B'nai B'rith Texas. Many obliged.
The 170th anniversary celebration was organized by Irwin Barath. Barath told the gathering that San Antonio men and women have other options to connecting with B'nai B'rith activity other than joining the local lodge. "We've been around for as long as we have by remaining flexible, innovative and open to change," he said. "We've evolved."