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Farband Labor Zionist Order (Boston, Mass.) Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-534

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the organization's records and publications documenting its activities and policies. Administrative records include meeting minutes and notices, financial records and budget reports, correspondence, and memos discussing Farband policy and direction. Member activities and Farband sponsored events are documented through newspaper clippings, press releases, posters, and newsletters. Information on the organization’s annual concerts is available through souvenir programs, flyers, licenses, receipts, and photographs depicting Jewish artists. Many documents also contain information on the activities of related organizations, including committee rosters, brochures and pamphlets, publications, reports, resolutions, and legal documents. These documents also reflect the context of the Farband’s involvement in Boston’s Jewish community and the scope of its policies and politics relating to the national and international community. The organization’s relationship with government entities, such as the Israeli consulate in Boston and various United States congressmen, is presented through correspondence and informational flyers.

Some folders contain restricted materials, primarily information relating to specific members of the Farband. These records cannot be accessed without permission from the archivist.

Dates

  • undated, 1941-1984

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

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

The Farband Labor Zionist Order was a Jewish fraternal organization founded in 1910, chartered in New York State in 1913, and initially known as the Jewish National Workers’ Alliance. Eventually developing branches across the United States and Canada, it functioned as a mutual aid society aligned with the Socialist and Zionist political party Poale Zion. The central ideology governing the Farband's activities focused on an actively positive approach to and rehabilitation of Jewish life and culture, as well as the democratization of the organized Jewish community. As a benefit society, responsibilities to members and their families primarily involved supplying aid in times of sickness, distress, or death; educational programs in the community; and participation in national activities for the defense of Jewish and labor rights, as well as the development of Israel. The organization officially changed its name to the Farband Labor Zionist Order in 1950, and again in 1972 to the Labor Zionist Alliance when it united with Poale Zion and the American Habonim Association.

The Farband was the first Jewish organization in the United States to establish a scientific fraternal benefit system of insurance policies where members paid fixed premiums based on actuarial tables. By 1953, there were over 300 branches throughout the United States and Canada, responsible for millions of dollars in cooperative insurance coverage and benefits plans. These plans included life insurance, funeral and cemetery benefits, hospital visits, illness, and accidents. Their medical centers offered members free examinations and low cost medical and dental treatments.

Reflecting the comprehensive scope of its activities, one of the most vibrant aspects of the Farband's activities was its participation in the cultural life and education of its members. Many branches across the country organized holiday celebrations and parties, maintained choral and drama groups, sponsored lectures, discussion groups and other forms of self-expression. The Farband established folk schools that educated Jewish students in their history, traditions, texts and current affairs, as well as Jewish elementary schools, high schools, and summer camps for both adults and children. Money from the organization was also used to sponsor scholarship awards to students in universities and colleges that offered Jewish studies courses, and the Jewish Teachers’ Seminary in New York. The Farband also published many informational publications, including a series dedicated to current affairs, a newsletter documenting organization activities, and a Yiddish newspaper, the Yiddisher Kemfer.

The Farband supported various Jewish volunteer based, philanthropic, and Zionist organizations and campaigns, such as the United Jewish Appeal, the Histadrut campaign, the Jewish National Fund, and many other active groups. They assisted in the foundation of the American Jewish Congress and regularly sent delegates to the World Zionist Congress. The Farband emphasized Israel as the national center of the Jewish people, energetically supporting their activities spiritually, financially, and politically from the United States. Farband members were active participants in State of Israel bond campaigns, and sought to influence U.S. foreign policy through resolutions established at regional and national conventions, as well as communications with their congressmen.

References

  1. Material from the collection.

Chronology

1910
The Jewish National Workers’ Alliance is formed.
1913
JNWA receives a charter from New York State and elects its first officers, including its president, Gershun Avrunin and general secretary, Meyer Brown.
1917
JNWA receives a charter from New York State and elects its first officers, including its president, Gershun Avrunin and general secretary, Meyer Brown.
1950
JNWA receives a charter from New York State and elects its first officers, including its president, Gershun Avrunin and general secretary, Meyer Brown.
Ben Hyams is elected chairman of Farband’s District 10 (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) based in Boston.
1972
The Farband combines with the political party Poale Zion and the American Habonim Association to form the Labor Zionist Alliance.

Extent

4 linear feet (4 document boxes)

Abstract

The Farband Labor Zionist Order was a Jewish fraternal organization founded in 1910 and chartered in New York in 1913. With branches across the United States and Canada, it functioned as a mutual aid society aligned with the Socialist and Zionist political party Poale Zion. The material in the collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, press releases, photographs, meeting minutes, brochures, and memos.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mark H. David, 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Kora Welsh, 2013
Title
Guide to the Farband Labor Zionist Order (Boston, Mass.) Records, I-534
Author
Processed by Kora Welsh
Date
2013

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