Contact B'nai B'rith

1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N Washington, D.C. 20036

info@bnaibrith.org

202-857-6600

Our Focus

Humanitarian Aid & Disaster Relief

Since 1865, B’nai B’rith has responded with millions of dollars of needed assistance to help the victims of hundreds of disasters – both natural and man-made – around the world.

Helping those in need is a core commitment that has guided B’nai B’rith since our founding. When floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes devastate a community, B’nai B’rith volunteers, members and supporters are ready to help. Spanning three separate centuries, B’nai B’rith has responded with millions of dollars of needed assistance to help the victims of hundreds of disasters around the world.
 
After most disasters we assist with, whether it’s in volunteer rebuilding people-power, donated funds, or both, B’nai B’rith utilizes its contacts in the impacted area, in concert with other agencies, to provide emergency support relief efforts and long-term rebuilding plans.

​The Disaster Relief Fund is always open.

Donate

Support Disaster Relief

Donors can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone or send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to the following address:

B’nai B’rith International
Disaster Relief Fund
1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N
Washington, DC  20036

Ukraine Relief Fund

History of Helping

In 1843 a dozen German-Jewish immigrants gathered on New York’s Lower East Side to confront what they called “the deplorable condition of Jews in this, our newly adopted country.”

The B’nai B’rith commitment to aid humankind grew out of its founders’ decision to create an insurance policy to award members’ widows $30 toward funeral expenses, a stipend of one dollar a week for the rest of their lives, a stipend for each child, and the assurance a male child would be taught a trade.

Victims of a Baltimore flood in the mid-1800s were the first recipients of B’nai B’rith disaster relief funds, and the first international assistance project provided funds to Moses Montefiore in 1865 to assist victims of a cholera epidemic in what was then Palestine. B’rith later raised and distributed funds to those affected by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Galveston, Texas, flood of 1900, and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Since those beginnings, when natural and manmade disasters strike in the United States or around the globe—or when communities are in need—B’nai B’rith helps from the outset and remains to rebuild to the end.

One of the most compelling attributes of the B’nai B’rith approach to disaster relief is that we often provide both immediate, short-term and long-term relief, long after other first responders have left a disaster site. 

SUPPORT

Israel Emergency Fund

This fund has helped Israeli victims during attacks and wars.  After the attack by Hamas in 2021, the fund supported families who had been victims of bombing.  After Hezbollah bombings in 2006 we provided books for Israeli soldiers; and helping northern Israel recover from the 2010 Mt. Carmel wildfires. It is open and available for any other community needs or disaster relief that may arise in Israel.

B’nai B’rith

Communities in Crisis

B’nai B’rith International also works closely with the Brothers Brother Foundation, located in Pittsburgh, to provide medical relief to those in need because of disaster or economic crisis in Latin America.

Since 2002, B’nai B’rith in partnership with Brothers Brother, has brought more than $100 million worth of medicines and supplies to needy communities in Latin America through the Communities in Crisis program.

What Can You Do to Help Us Continue the Efforts of the Disaster Relief Fund?

We cannot respond to every disaster but, as we learn about a disaster event, we investigate the situation with local leadership to determine if there is a way we can assist. They tell us what the local government is doing, and if additional assistance may be helpful. In some international disasters, donations can only be received locally and are directed to organizations that are designated by the government to handle the disaster response.  

We do not know when the next disaster will strike, but we do know when hurricane season begins or where there are areas that are vulnerable to tornadoes or floods. We know that there will be more need in the months to come. We need to know that the support of the Disaster Relief Fund is behind us when we make any outreach to a disaster area, before and after we open a campaign. 

We are grateful to donors who support our disaster relief efforts during special campaigns and to help us be ready when disasters happen with their support of our General Fund. Your help allows us to respond before or without a campaign being opened for a specific disaster. 

Timeline

Disaster Relief Projects

The B’nai B’rith commitment to aiding humankind grew out of its founders’ decision to create an insurance policy to award members’ widows $30 toward funeral expenses, a stipend of one dollar a week for the rest of their lives, a stipend for each child and the assurance a male child would be taught a trade.

Since those beginnings, when natural and manmade disasters strike in the United States or around the globe—or when communities are in need—B’nai B’rith helps from the outset and remains to rebuild to the end.

Help Those Impacted by the War in Ukraine

We are deeply dismayed by Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. The West’s uniting to condemn this unprovoked attack by Russia and its violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine is a welcome show of global solidarity.

In his statement today, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid noted his country’s war experiences and said Israel is “prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Ukraine.”

The prospect of a significant humanitarian crisis is of great concern to B’nai B’rith International.

We support the effort of B’nai B’rith UK to assist Jewish communities in Ukraine. Funds collected will allow the purchase of medicines and provide financial aid for the Jewish community. In addition, B’nai B’rith in Italy has launched its own relief campaign. The B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund is always open to accept donations. Donate here.

Supporting Communities Impacted by COVID-19

In Spring 2020, B’nai B’rith shifted its disaster relief efforts to focus on fighting the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic. As the coronavirus spread around the world, we worked with our local partners—in the United States, Latin America and Europe—to respond to whatever their communities needed most, whether that was medical supplies, foodstuffs or other necessities. 

B’nai B’rith launched a global coronavirus emergency fund with an allocation from its existing Disaster Relief Fund, to be used in conjunction with a new emergency campaign. 

The funds raised went to international assistance to help struggling communities around the world. As an international organization, we worked with our members and supporters across the globe to determine the most urgent needs and best meet them.

Our response to the coronavirus crisis continues. The B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Committee is constantly evaluating our continued response to the pandemic to make sure that we reach people who need our help the most.

Disaster Relief and Community Service

The Disaster Relief Fund has supported several disaster activities for volunteer engagement. It has provided funds to create hundreds of preparedness kits with hygiene items and informational checklists for seniors in our communities to help them create these to-go kits. This included directions written in four languages for a diverse population. It has also provided over 1,000 kits packed with school supplies for students returning to school and kitchen supplies for families returning to their homes after a disaster. These kits have been packed by dedicated volunteers of B’nai B’rith including the brothers of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Fraternity at their international conventions. 

Over 500 AEPi volunteers rebuilt a community park in New Orleans in 2010, completing the last community service project funded by B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief after Hurricane Katrina.

B’nai B’rith International’s Center for Senior Services (CSS) incorporates a Day of Service into its Managers and Service Coordinators annual meetings. In 2019, this was held in Puerto Rico for a day of volunteering on a farm.  The program was funded by the Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund, supporting a project that will benefit the local community.

“Uniting the work of our Center for Senior Services with our disaster relief efforts strengthens the goals and the mission of B’nai B’rith International: to improve the quality of life for people around the globe,” said Janel Doughten, associate director, CSS.

Recent Relief Projects

2015

B’nai B’rith Responds to Flooding in Texas

2017

B’nai B’rith Responds to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey hits Houston and B’nai B’rith responds with volunteer assistance and support for partner organizations that assisted the victims of this disaster. 

Members from our partner, fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), fanned out across Houston to help with clean-up and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which struck Aug. 25, 2017, as a Category 4 storm. Property damage was extensive, with thousands of homes, schools and businesses damaged or destroyed. 

More than 30 brothers from Texas AEPi chapters travelled to Houston with one thing in mind: Tikkun Olam. Eager to help families return to their daily lives, brothers logged 370 hours clearing debris, taking down rotted drywall and removing other hazardous material from two suburban Houston homes.

“We didn’t come down to Houston with vacation in mind. We came down here with Tikkun Olam in mind. That’s why we’re here. I did something; I helped repair the world,” said Amir Kessler (North Texas, 2017).

Funds were provided by B’nai B’rith International to support the volunteers from AEPi. The repairs were coordinated by NECHAMA, a disaster relief organization. 

Watch the Houston project here

2018

New York: Clean-Up of a Home Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

​In 2018, B'nai B'rith young leaders from New York committed a full day to helping rebuild a home destroyed in Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn.

​The home had been destroyed 6 years ago and was still unlivable. Young leaders teamed up with the nonprofit SBP: Disaster Resilience & Recovery. The group accomplished a lot in just one short day.

2018

​Wildfires in Greece

B’nai B’rith International sent aid to Greece in response to raging wildfires.
B’nai B’rith works very closely with two Greek-American organizations: The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA) and American Hellenic Institute (AHI) to provide assistance to those impacted by this disaster.  

2018

Flooding and Heat Wave in Japan

B’nai B’rith International deployed its Disaster Relief Fund to help the victims of the worst flooding to engulf Japan in decades. Compounding the disaster was a heat wave that has gripped the same region impacted by the floods.  This followed B’nai B’rith’s humanitarian relief efforts in Japan in 2011 after the ruinous earthquake and tsunami, and again in 2016 after another catastrophic earthquake. For this new catastrophe, the B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund supported the efforts of IsraAID. This allocation funded an emergency response team on the ground. B’nai B’rith is proud to be one of the founders of IsraAID, which helps after disasters around the globe. 

2018

Helping Victims of Guatemala's Fuego Volcano

B’nai B’rith International tapped its Disaster Relief Fund to help the victims of Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano that decimated the village of El Rodeo. A mix of lava, volcanic gas, rock and ash sped down the mountain at hundreds of miles an hour, trapping residents in cars as they tried to flee and in homes as they sought shelter.
  
The B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund is committed to supporting the efforts of IsraAID’s emergency response team on the ground that is bringing its expertise in emergency assistance and providing a comprehensive needs-assessment of the impact on the population. B’nai B’rith is proud to be one of the founders of IsraAID.

2018

California Wildfires and the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

The Disaster Relief campaign assisted in two domestic disasters. It provided assistance to the Idyllwild Help Center in Idyllwild, California in response to the wildfires that have devastated the community and the Ahava ‘Aina Synagogue in Hawaii whose members have been dealing with the impact from the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano.

2019

The Pittsburgh Healing Fund

In December 2019, B’nai B’rith Senior Vice President and Disaster and Emergency Relief Committee Chair Rebecca Saltzman travelled to Pittsburgh to meet with staff from the Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh (JFCS) and presented a check for $25,600 to aid mental health programming for survivors of the horrific attack on Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Synagogue that left 11 worshippers dead and wounded many more. Funds were also used to assist first responders and support a community memorial.

Read Saltzman’s account of B’nai B’rith’s disaster relief efforts in the wake of the mass shootings and her involvement meeting first responders and community service personnel in Pittsburgh.

2020

Supporting Communities Impacted by COVID-19

In spring 2020, B’nai B’rith shifted its disaster relief efforts to focus on fighting the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic. As the coronavirus spread around the world, we worked with our local partners—in the United States, Latin America and Europe—to respond to whatever their communities needed most, whether that was medical supplies, foodstuffs or other necessities. 

B’nai B’rith launched a global coronavirus emergency fund with an allocation from its existing Disaster Relief Fund, to be used in conjunction with a new emergency campaign. 

The funds raised went to international assistance to help struggling communities around the world. As an international organization, we worked with our members and supporters across the globe to determine the most urgent needs and best meet them.

Our response to the coronavirus crisis continues. The B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Committee is constantly evaluating our continued response to the pandemic to make sure that we reach people who need our help the most.

2021

Disaster Campaigns in 2021

January 2021 - B’nai B’rith International opened its Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the Texas winter storm crisis. 

B’nai B’rith arranged meal deliveries for seniors in need and worked with local community agencies and volunteers on the ground to assess the situation and determine needs, so the funds raised have the greatest impact.

Summer 2021 - Campaigns included assistance after an earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Ida that hit the Gulf Coast.  

Support is Ongoing

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COVID Relief Distribution