The International Order of B’nai B’rith in Early Los Angeles – 1874

The Early History and Struggles of B’nai B’rith Lodges in Los Angeles

The International Order of B’nai B’rith was founded in New York, in 1843.

In 1874, Isidor N. Choynski, a well known newspaper writer and bookdealer, visited Los Angeles from San Francisco to help found the first B’nai B’ith Lodge – Orange Lodge #224.

Sam Prager was its first President.

Samuel Prager, 1st President of the 1st B’nai B’rith Lodge in Los Angeles

The following year, Rabbi Abraham Edelman was its second President.

Membership grew to about 35 members.

Rabbi Abraham, 2nd President of First B’nai B’rith Lodge in Los Angeles

The members discussed the possiblity of funding a Jewish hospital, but nothing happened.

Except for the social aspects of the Lodge, little else happened.


Semi-Tropic Lodge.

In 1883, a younger group of Jews founded a new Lodge.

M. A. Hamberger was elected President.

Moses A. Hamburger, #WS2177

Membership reached about 35 members, but again, not much happened.


Lodge #487

In 1899, the senior members of the two B’nai B’rith Lodges decided to merge and create another Lodge – Lodge #487.

It was to be a Jewish Organization where “Jews could meet Jews” and for “Jewish companionship.”

Where-as most early B’nai B’rith Lodges had been made up mostly of “German” Jews, the members of Lodge #487 agreed to reach out to other Jews of Eastern European descent.

The mission of the Lodge was agreed to be charity works and to mount a defense against anti-Semitism where necessary.

By 1905, membership reached 172.

By 1910 – 365 members

By 1913 – 500 members

and by 1924 – 2,000 members – the largest B’nai B’rith Lodge in the country!


The B’nai B’rith Lodge Hall

In 1903, a past-President, S.G. Marshutz built and leased to the Lodge a beautiful, new, modern, fraternal hall, with a club room, a well-lite Lodge room, a card room, reading room, kitchen, billiard room. and a large library.

Sigfried Marshutz

The Lodge Hall was located at 521 West Pico Boulevard.


Jewish Orphans

In 1906, B’nai B’rith Lodge #487  took interest in creating a home for Jewish Orphans.

Alfred Stern Mansion, the First Jewish Orphan’s Home in Los Angeles

Two years later their project came to life as they incorporated the Jewish Orphans Home of Southern California, which eventually morphed into today’s Vista del Mar.


See our Exibit Page for Vista del Mar & the Jewish Orphans Home [Click Here]

Most information for this exhibit was found in History of the Jews of Los Angeles by Max Vorspan & Lloyd Gartner

We would like to receive more historical information and photos from existing B’nai B’rith Lodges in Los Angeles.