B’nai Brith Scrapbook

B’nai Brith was founded in 1843 by two Jewish German immigrants residing in the New York’s Lower East side. At the time of its origins, the goal was to assist Jews in need who were living in poverty and difficult social and economic circumstances. Fraternal Lodges were organized and continued to provide philanthropic community assistance. B’nai Brith also undertook advocacy for Jewish rights both domestically and internationally which continues to be a part of its Mission today.

Lodge Number #336 of the Independent Order of B’nai Brith (Sons of the Covenant) was established in Albuquerque in 1883. For many, B’nai Brith served as a “secular synagogue” according to Deborah Dash Moore, a prominent historian. According to Henry Tobias’ seminal work, “A History of the Jews in New Mexico” Albuquerque’s Jews established their public presence through the establishment of Lodge #336. The 1883 registration book listed twenty-five founding members most of whom were young and were merchants or store clerks, a common pattern among New Mexico’s Pioneer Jewish families. B’nai Brith Albuquerque purchased land to establish the first Jewish cemetery in town. The cemetery was later acquired by Congregation Albert. Following the organization’s Mission, Lodge #336 served as an important resource aid for the local community and other organizations.

The B’nai Brith Scrapbook donated to NMJHS includes Newsletters, Board meeting minutes and newspaper clippings of prominent Albuquerque B’nai Brith members and their community social and philanthropic activities.  We were honored to take possession of this important New Mexico Jewish community history artifact.