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Aleph Zadik Aleph of the North Shore (Mass.) Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-555

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, pamphlets, governance documents, and promotional material from AZA chapters on the North Shore (Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, and Swampscott-Marblehead) and Mattapan, and Sharon. These contain details of meetings, elections, dues, and other chapter business; newsletters containing comics, jokes, and essays contributed by members. Numerous official publications from the national AZA/BBYO management are included; both guidebooks for starting and governing a new AZA chapter and informational booklets about Jewish holidays and Israel, many belonging to Martin “Marty” Brody of the Swampscott-Marblehead chapter. Particularly detailed is the correspondence from the early 1940s of Lynn AZA #471 advisor Louis Winer, a former Aleph and lawyer.

Dates

  • undated, 1941-1998

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Historical Note

Aleph Zadik Aleph, known almost exclusively as AZA, was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924 as a local social and service group for young Jewish men. Their second advisor, Sam Beber, was active in B’nai B’rith, the largest Jewish fraternal organization in the world. The Omaha chapter became the Mother Chapter AZA #1 as Beber wanted the AZA to grow and organize Jewish fraternities across the globe. Former advisor Nathan Mnookin began the second chapter in Kansas City, and by the 1930s there were over a hundred member lodges designated by a number and frequently named after Jewish historical figures or Hebrew phrases. Eventually the AZA separated itself from its role as the official youth auxiliary of B’nai B’rith and continues to operate today as the BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization). With hundreds of chapters and almost 50,000 members worldwide, it advertises itself as “the leading pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences.”

Among these were the AZA lodges of Massachusetts’s North Shore. Taking advantage of youthful energy, the AZA groups in cities and towns such as Lynn, Everett, and Chelsea held elections, organized events, and published newsletters. Occasionally these groups would operate alongside B’nai B’rith, the Boy Scouts of America or the BBG (B’nai B’rith Girls, founded in 1944) in planning activities. There was frequent contact between the groups and they participated in regional councils and events. AZA members paid dues which were used for charity purposes as well as to hold events.

The AZA had a very particular structure: the national board was made of members from chapters across the country. District councils covered groups of states, and regional boards oversaw even more focused state groups. Massachusetts was part of District One, which also included New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine as well as Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts made up the Tri-State Region (TSR), which met for retreats and conferences. Town groups could also officially join together in order to collaborate on AZA occasions and projects. In addition to the wider governing bodies, each chapter, like many fraternal orders, had an elected council with unique AZA position titles.

References

  1. "Aleph Zadik Aleph." Wikipedia. 07 Jan. 2013. Wikimedia Foundation. 16 July 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_Zadik_Aleph>.
  2. "BBYO's History Timeline: 1923-2011." BBYO. BBYO. http://bbyo.org/about/history/Timeline/>.

Extent

0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)

Abstract

Aleph Zadik Aleph, known almost exclusively as AZA, was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924 as a local social and service group for young Jewish men. Eventually the AZA separated itself from its role as the official youth auxiliary of B'nai B'rith and continues to operate today as the BBYO (B'nai B'rith Youth Organization). This collection contains correspondence, pamphlets, governance documents and promotional material from AZA chapters on the North Shore (Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, and Swampscott-Marblehead), Mattapan, and Sharon.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore in 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Leah Ellenbogen, 2013
Title
Guide to the Aleph Zadik Aleph of the North Shore (Mass.) Records, I-555
Author
Processed by Leah Ellenbogen
Date
2014

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245