175 years ago today, Henry Jones and 11 others founded B’nai B’rith in New York City—the oldest Jewish service organization in the world. The new group’s constitution called for: “Visiting and attending the sick” and “protecting and assisting the widow and the orphan.” Since 1865, it has also assisted victims of natural and manmade disasters—from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, to the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Just six weeks after the signing of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt in 1978, B’nai B’rith was the first Jewish group to visit that Arab country at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. (1843)

It also is involved in politics, combats anti-semitism, advocates for health care and social security, and sponsors housing for Jewish seniors with its network of 36 residence buildings in over 27 cities.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The cornerstone of the White House was laid during a ceremony in the new capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. (1792)
  • Ameritech Mobile Communications (now AT&T) launched the first US cellular network in Chicago, Illinois (1983)
  • Northern Ireland reached the brink of peace after the three main loyalist paramilitary groups announced a ceasefire in Belfast in response to a similar truce by the IRA seven weeks earlier (1994)
  • South Korean President Kim Dae-jung was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to bring peace and reconciliation with North Korea (2000)
  • Every one of the 362,000 elementary school students in Uruguay and 18,000 teachers became part of the One Laptop Per Child project, receiving a $100 laptop from the organization set up by Nicholas Negroponte (2009)
  • 33 Chilean miners trapped underground made the half-mile journey to the surface, one by one, after surviving a record 69 days until rescuers could drill a passage and provide an escape pod (2010)
  • Bob Dylan at 75-years-old was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” becoming the first songwriter to win the prestigious award (2016)

Happy Birthday to musician and singer Paul Simon, who turns 77 today.

2011 photo by Matthew Straubmuller, CC license

Famous for his partnership with Art Garfunkel, whom he first met in a sixth grade performance of Alice in Wonderland, and later performed with at school dances. Simon wrote most of their songs, including “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge over Troubled Water”. As a solo artist, he released Graceland in 1986, an album inspired by South African township music. (1941)


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