The Independent Orders of B'nai B'rith and True Sisters
Pioneers of a New Jewish Identity, 1843-1914
Wilhelm details the founding, growth, and evolution of both organizations as fraternal orders and examines how they served as a civil platform for Jews to reinvent, stage, and voice themselves as American citizens. Wilhelm discusses many of the challenges the B'nai B'rith faced, including the growth of competing organizations, the need for a democratic ethnic representation, the difficulties of keeping its core values and solidarity alive in a growing and increasingly incoherent mass organization, and the iconization of the Order as an exclusionary "German Jewish elite." Wilhelm's study offers new insights into B'nai B'rith's important community work, including its contribution to organizing and financing a nationwide hospital and orphanage system, its life insurance, its relationships with new immigrants, and its efforts to reach out locally with branches on the Lower East Side.
Based on extensive archival research, Wilhelm's study demonstrates the central place of B'nai B'rith in the formation and propagation of a uniquely American Jewish identity. The Independent Orders of B'nai B'rith and True Sisters will interest all scholars of Jewish history, B'nai B'rith and True Sisters members, and readers interested in American history.
About the Authors
"This is an extraordinarily well researched volume on the most important Jewish fraternal organization in American Jewish history. Nobody before Wilhelm has made use of B'nai B'rith's archives, and nobody has been able to handle the German-language materials that are vital to researching B'nai B'rith."—Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University
Other Titles by Cornelia Wilhelm
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