Seattle Jews found B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 342, a fraternal organization, in 1883.

  • By Lee Micklin
  • Posted 10/30/1998
  • Essay 96
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In 1883, Seattle Jews found B'nai  B'rith Lodge No. 342,  a Jewish fraternal organization. American Jews founded the parent organization in October 1843 in New York City to provide service to their own people and to humanity at large  (Columbia Encyclopedia). Seattle's B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 342 is predecessor to the present-day Greater Seattle B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 3003, which in turn forms part of the largest Jewish service organization in the world.  B'nai B'rith's divisions include the Hillel Foundation (for Jewish college students), the  (a civil-rights organization), and B'nai B'rith Women. B'nai B'rith has about 500,000 members in 58 countries, with headquarters in Washington D.C.

In 1883 in Seattle, notices of social events and meetings appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Earliest events included a Domino party and a banquet ball at the Arlington Hotel honoring the 100th birthday of British Jewish philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885), whose birthday was celebrated in Jewish communities throughout the world.

In the twentieth century, subsidiary organizations of B'nai B'rith were founded: Anti-Defamation League (1913), B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (1927), and B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation (1940) at the University of Washington. In 1975 existing Seattle lodges consolidated to form Greater Seattle B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 3003. In the early twenty-first century, B'nai B'rith continues its mission, doing community service and putting on ethnic and religious outreach programs.

One such program, started in 1975, is Project Brotherhood. On Christmas Eve and Day, a corps of Jewish volunteers fill in for Christian employees, permitting them to spend the holiday with their families.

Other programs include a visiting scholar in residence, a public affairs network, a community-wide blood drive, tutoring in the public schools, a freedom seder that brings together the Jewish and African American communities, and a Holocaust remembrance program.


Meta Buttnick, "B'nai B'rith in Seattle," Nizcor: Washington State Jewish Historical Society Newsletter, April 1983; Howard Droker, "1901 'Time Capsule,'" Nizcor: Washington State Jewish Historical Society Newsletter, December 1981; Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition (

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