B’nai B’rith City Library Dedicated in Jerusalem
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B’nai B’rith City Library Dedicated in Jerusalem

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A cablegram to Alfred M. Cohen, international president of B’nai B’rith, received today, announced the dedication Tuesday, June 3, of the B’nai B’rith City Library at Jerusalem and voiced the appreciation of the people of that city for the B’nai B’rith support which had made the library possible.

The B’nai B’rith Lodge in Jerusalem was founded in 1888 and four years later it established a library called “Midrash Abranel.” From a modest beginning it grew through gifts until at the outbreak of the World War it contained 32,000 volumes and had outgrown the building which the Jerusalem Lodge had provided for it. Through these years it had been supported by the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden of Berlin, the B’nai B’rith executive committee, various B’nai B’rith lodges and private contributions.

After the end of the World War, the library became the National Library of Palestine under the joint control of the Jerusalem B’nai B’rith Lodge and the Zionist Organization. When the Hebrew University was founded in 1925, it sought to convert the National Library into a University library which change the B’nai B’rith opposed and since the country was too small to support two libraries, a compromise was effected whereby the library became the National and University Library.

With the dedication in April of this year of the new library building on Mt. Scopus, the City of Jerusalem was left without a library of its own. Many of those who had enjoyed the books of the library were too old to walk and too poor to ride the bus line to Mt. Scopus, some three miles from the city of Jerusalem.

The B’nai B’rith executive committee voted the necessary funds to make possible a separate City Library for Jerusalem proper. This library is housed in the original library building which also serves as the home for the Jerusalem B’nai B’rith Lodge. It already contains over 30,000 volumes of a general nature turned over to it by the National and University Library which retained only the scientific books from the 200,000 volumes when it moved to its new home.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund