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Organization Celebrates 170 Years of Service to the Jewish Community and the World

B’nai B’rith International will celebrate its German Jewish founders at a 170th-anniversary event honoring Dr. Ruth Westheimer on Oct. 22. The event, sponsored by Lufthansa German Airlines, will be held at the German consulate in New York City and will recognize B’nai B’rith’s 17-decades of service to the Jewish community and the world.

The 12 German Jewish immigrants who founded B’nai B’rith on Oct. 13, 1843, at Sinsheimer’s Café on New York City’s Lower East Side were dedicated to positive Jewish contributions in their new home. Now 170 years later, B’nai B’rith International continues this mission as the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. B’nai B’rith is dedicated to fighting for human rights, combating anti-Semitism, providing disaster relief, advocating for Israel and supporting seniors.

Westheimer, best known as “Dr. Ruth,” was sent by her German Orthodox family to safety in Switzerland at the age of 10 to escape the Nazi genocide against the Jews. Her family, left behind in Germany, perished in the Holocaust. After years in an orphanage in Switzerland, Westheimer immigrated to Palestine at the age of 17, where she joined the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces and fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

B’nai B’rith will present Westheimer with an award entitled: “For a Life’s Career of the Betterment of Humanity Throughout the World.”

B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs noted: “On our 170th anniversary, we pay tribute to our founders’ commitment to the betterment of humanity by recognizing Dr. Ruth and her enduring spirit.”

The event includes both Israel and Germany’s consuls general in New York, Ido Aharoni and Busso von Alvensleben respectively.

“After 17 decades, we are still following the noble vision that the Jewish immigrant founders set out for this organization—working to make the world a better place,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.