Intermountain Jewish News published an article highlighting the upcoming 150th anniversary of B’nai B’rith Colorado.
The history of B’nai B’rith Colorado — formerly known as B’nai B’rith Denver Lodge #171 — is basically the history of the Denver Jewish community. The first half of the 1870s saw the establishment of Denver Jewry’s three oldest institutions: B’nai B’rith and The Hebrew Benevolent Society (now Jewish Family Service of Colorado) in 1872, and Temple Emanuel in 1874. But B’nai B’rith was first, and it will celebrate its 150th anniversary next week on Oct. 20.
Certainly, the evening will spotlight B’nai B’rith’s storied past in Colorado — the impact it has had in building this community — but it will also celebrate how B’nai B’rith has evolved through the decades, remaining relevant as a community service, a public policy and a social organization.
From the smoke-filled rooms of rented halls and B’nai B’rith’s own lodge building at East Colfax and Williams St., where countless men’s meetings were held and card games were played, to today’s Zoom meetings and programs which now include both men and women, B’nai B’rith Colorado has remained true to its mission. It is a force for good even as it has fun along the way.
As history has unfolded, B’nai B’rith Colorado has responded to the needs of global society, raising funds for war relief and for victims of natural disasters, and being instrumental in the founding of National Jewish Hospital, which is now National Jewish Health, one of the world’s foremost respiratory and immunology institutions.
Most recently — and commendably — B’nai B’rith Colorado, under the leadership of the dynamic Frank and Margo Goldman duo, mobilized to provide personal protective equipment, food and supplies and funds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has also affected public policy through its leadership role in the passage of Colorado’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Public Schools law in 2020 and Non-Profit Security Grant Program this year.
Don’t forget B’nai B’rith Colorado’s signature programming, such as its annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean-up, the Max Frankel Prisoner Visitation program, the annual fundraising golf tournament and the Jewbilee, a winter bash for young Jews.
The COVID pandemic stymied the venerable and popular B’nai B’rith Bowling League, but hopefully it can be revived as it has always provided Jewish men and women an enjoyable recreational and social outlet.
Historically, B’nai B’rith on the national and international level gave birth to such influential enduring entities as the Anti-Defamation League, the Hillel Foundation, B’nai B’rith Women (now Jewish Women International) and BBYO.
These organizations have grown up and flown the nest to thrive and serve on their own, but they would not be the forces they are without the vision and the nurturing support they received from B’nai B’rith.
As inheritors of Denver’s oldest Jewish organization, the men and women of B’nai B’rith Colorado have found new ways to fulfill its mission of “bringing the Colorado Jewish community together through acts of service and bettering the world around us.” May B’nai B’rith Colorado be granted the leadership and the will to continue its sacred mission.
From strength to strength.