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.
The following year, Rabbi Abraham Edelman was its second President.
Membership grew to about 35 members.
The members discussed the possiblity of funding a Jewish hospital, but nothing happened.
Except for the social aspects of the Lodge, little else happened.
In 1883 a younger group of Jews founded a new Lodge.
M. A. Hamberger was elected President.
Membership reached about 35 members, but again, not much happened.
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.
The Lodge Hall was located at 521 West Pico Boulevard.
In 1906 B’nai B’rith Lodge #487 took interest in creating a home for Jewish Orphans.
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.