With B'nai B'rith International's milestone 175th anniversary occurring this year, we are reminded of what an amazing story we have to tell. Below read about member Phyllis Frank's most meaningful moments as a B'nai B'rith member.
In 1863 Nashville was an occupied city. Conditions were chaotic. A group of Jewish men established a lodge to help those widowed and orphaned by the war. They petitioned and became part of the parent organization, The Independent Order of B’nai B’rith and were chartered by the state of Tennessee as Maimonides Lodge. The lodge owns the oldest charter of any Jewish organization in Nashville.
From the beginning, the lodge achieved its local obligation and contributed generously to the endeavors of the parent organization – The Cleveland Orphans Home, The Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Denver, the Leo N. Levi Hospital in Hot Springs, the Memphis Home for the Aged, the Anti-Defamation League. The very successful programs of AZA, for the boys, and BBG (BB girls) were always a source of pride of accomplishment.
My involvement began in 1961 when I returned to Nashville from active duty in the United States Marine Core. My father had been a past president of the lodge and insisted I become involved.
Although some services are no longer offered, the lodge has provided programs most beneficial to many groups. Already mentioned were the youth programs of AZA and BBG, monthly visits to the VA Hospital to entertain the patients, programs to recognize Jewish veterans on Veterans Day, monthly visits to Jewish prisoners at the State Penitentiary, establishment of the Camp for Blind Children. Though the camp is no longer in operation, the lodge provides offers services to the blind by sponsoring the Braille Challenge and Academic Challenge at the Tennessee School for the Blind. Through work with the Tennessee School for the Blind, a scholarship fund has been established to provide assistance to students who are legally blind and plan to attend a post-secondary educational institution. The Visual Aid Closet provides needed equipment to support daily activities for adults and children who are visually impaired. Continuing outreach to the general community Maimonides Lodge has held an annual dinner with the Knights of Columbus for 40 years.
Maimonides Lodge #46 has a long and distinguished record of service to its members, their families, the Jewish community, and the community at large. The lodge has certainly fulfilled its mission of unifying persons of the Jewish faith in the work of promoting their highest interest and those of humanity. Our members are proud to be part of that history and tradition.
A History of B'nai B'rith Maimonides Lodge #46
If you would like to share your thoughts about memorable B'nai B'rith milestones and influences on your B'nai B'rith experience, please email them to Steve Smiga, 175th anniversary chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or to B'nai B'rith International President Charles O. Kaufman at email@example.com.
B'nai B'rith International has served as the Global Voice of the Jewish Community since 1843.