Our History
A history of demonstrating our love for Israel

Our History

Bnai Zion has been uniting supporters of Israel for over 111 years with projects that have a lasting impact. Here are some examples of how we are building an enduring legacy for all of Israel.

2018
Began construction on the therapy center at Ahava Village

2018  |  Began construction on the therapy center at Ahava Village

Located in Kiryat Bialik, near Haifa. This residential center provides a home for 250 children high-risk backgrounds. The therapy center will provide an integrated center with all therapists under a single roof, allowing for a more structured and supportive environment to care for the specific needs of each child.   See more about this project

2017
Construction of The George and Irina Schaeffer Cultural Center

2017  |  Construction of The George and Irina Schaeffer Cultural Center

Bnai Zion raised money to construct a community center that provides a cultural, recreational, and employment venue for people with disabilities to help them to reach their fullest potential. The George and Irina Schaeffer Cultural Center offers a myriad of supports and opportunities to Israel Elwyn’s service recipients living in the Supported Living Services and in the general community alike.   More on the cultural center

2016
Construction of safe rooms for at risk children

2016  |  Construction of safe rooms for at risk children

Within the Ahava Village for troubled youth, Bnai Zion provided the financial support to build rooms that protect residents from rocket fire.   Learn more about this project

2015
Construction of Cultural Center at Ma’ale Adumim

2015  |  Construction of Cultural Center at Ma’ale Adumim

Created by George and Irina Schaeffer, the new cultural center is an anchor for the arts within Ma’ale Adumim and the surrounding area. It gives a venue to local and student productions and attracts talent from across the country.   Learn more about this project

2005
Completion of Chais Building for child development

2005  |  Completion of Chais Building for child development

The Child Development Center at Bnai Zion Medical Center is now recognized as the region’s leading center for diagnosis and treatment of young children who have neurological-developmental challenges.  

2003
Support of The David Yellin College of Education

2003  |  Support of The David Yellin College of Education

Bnai Zion provided support to the teacher's college, which trains secular and religious Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs, and immigrants.  

1997
Groundbreaking for Library of Peace

1997  |  Groundbreaking for Library of Peace

Bnai Zion committed to the construction of the library, which has been completed, dedicated, and is now being used by the entire Ma’ale Adumim region.   See the latest on this project

1988
Bnai Zion Medical Center naming

1988  |  Bnai Zion Medical Center naming

The Rothschild Hospital in Haifa was renamed the Bnai Zion Medical Center when Bnai Zion committed to complete a new 11-story west wing and modernize the hospital's facilities to provide proper medical care for the population of northern Israel.  

1983
Senator Joseph Biden accepts America-Israel Friendship Award for Senator Alan Cranston.

1983  |  Senator Joseph Biden accepts America-Israel Friendship Award for Senator Alan Cranston.

Senator Joe Biden accepts the America-Israel Friendship Award on behalf of Senator Alan Cranston. Senator Cranston received the award for his support of resolutions supporting Jewish emigration from Syria and Ethiopia. Rabbi Joseph Stern received Harris J. Levine Award. Moshe Arens, Israeli Defense Minister, was guest speaker at the dinner.  

1980
NY Governor Hugh Carey and Senator Henry Jackson honored of Beit Halochem

1980  |  NY Governor Hugh Carey and Senator Henry Jackson honored of Beit Halochem

Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a long-time supporter of Israel in his 43 years in Congress and on the Armed Services Committee, was honored at the Bnai Zion Foundation dinner. NY Governor Hugh Carey, was honored alongside of Senator Jackson, receiving the America-Israel Friendship Medal. Governor Carey began his life-long support of Israel during WWII, when, as a soldier, he helped liberate the Norhausen concentration camp.  

1978
Beit Halochem rehabilitation facility opened in Haifa

1978  |  Beit Halochem rehabilitation facility opened in Haifa

Beit Halochem, a Bnai Zion funded rehabilitation facility, opened in Haifa. That facility has since been remodeled and continues to serve over 2,500 disabled veterans on a regular basis.  

1978
Elie Wiesel honored by Bnai Zion Foundation

1978  |  Elie Wiesel honored by Bnai Zion Foundation

The America-Israel Friendship medal was awarded to Elie Wiesel by Bnai Zion Foundation.  

1974
Bnai Zion Foundation honors President Gerald R. Ford

1974  |  Bnai Zion Foundation honors President Gerald R. Ford

President Gerald R. Ford, then Vice-President, was the recipient of the America-Israel Friendship Gold Medal at the Annual Award Dinner in February.  

1973
Major fundraising at dinner honoring Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey

1973  |  Major fundraising at dinner honoring Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey

The annual Bnai Zion Award Dinner in February, honoring Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey, yielded more than $407,000 to finance the projects of the Bnai Zion Foundation.  

1972
Founding of America-Israel Friendship House

1972  |  Founding of America-Israel Friendship House

Bnai Zion Foundation purchased a building in NYC and established a cultural and information center aimed at strengthening the ties of friendship between the people of both countries.  

1971
Construction of Beit Halochem

1971  |  Construction of Beit Halochem

Bnai Zion donated the funds and broke ground on the building of the distinguished Beit Halochem rehabilitation facility in Haifa. That facility has since been remodeled, and continues to serve over 2,500 disabled veterans on a regular basis.  

1968
Bnai Zion Foundation honors Thurgood Marshall

1968  |  Bnai Zion Foundation honors Thurgood Marshall

In the furtherance of the principle of Americanism, in 1968 the Bill of Rights Gold Medal was awarded to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  

1966
Dedicating forest to John F. Kennedy

1966  |  Dedicating forest to John F. Kennedy

In remembrance of President John F. Kennedy, the Order Day Dinner dedicated the Kennedy Forest and honored Carl Albert, Speaker of the House of Representatives.  

1960
JFK recognizes Bnai Zion Foundation for its nonpartisan work

1960  |  JFK recognizes Bnai Zion Foundation for its nonpartisan work

On June 4, 1960, as part of its Declaration of Principles, Bnai Zion Foundation restated its position as a nonpolitical body, rededicating itself to the principles of of Americanism, Zionism, and fraternalism. This nonpolitical stance of Bnai Zion was noted by President John F. Kennedy in a message when the America-Israel Friendship Medal was presented to Vice-President Lyndon Johnson on February 5, 1961: “As a nonpolitical organization, affiliated with no political group in our own country or in Israel, you have welcomed to your ranks members of all shades of opinion, united under American ideals. At the same time, you have adhered to the Jewish tradition calling for the re-establishment of the State of Israel, and since that historic event you have given material assistance to its rebuilding”.  

1949
Establishment of Ein Hod

1949  |  Establishment of Ein Hod

Bnai Zion Foundation helped found Ein Hod, a celebrated artists’ village near Haifa. Today, this village is recognized throughout the world for its inhabitants’ artistic talents and for the operation of its prestigious school.  

1947
Kfar Bnai Zion founded home for Holocaust survivors

1947  |  Kfar Bnai Zion founded home for Holocaust survivors

Bnai Zion opens a home to house Holocaust survivors in Israel, just before the UN resolution establishing the state of Israel.  

1944
Bnai Zion Women’s Council founded

1944  |  Bnai Zion Women’s Council founded

Dorothy S. Levine lead the founding of Bnai Zion’s Women’s Council. Later it was renamed the Women’s League. Ms. Levine and the women raised vast sums of money over the course of the next couple of decades.  

1941
Founding of Magen David Adom

1941  |  Founding of Magen David Adom

Leaders of Bnai Zion helped found Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross. Millions of medical supplies and 125 ambulances were donated. Bnai Zion Foundation was instrumental in establishing the “American Red Magen David for Palestine,” a major source of funds for the new Magen David Adom. Between 1941-1949, the organization donated millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and over 100 ambulances. Today, Magen David Adom is Israel’s national ambulance service.  

1939
Supporting WWII efforts

1939  |  Supporting WWII efforts

Between 1939 and 1945, Bnai Zion provided aid in myriad ways; in one week alone, 450 members each donated a pint of blood to the Red Cross for servicemen.  

1910
Bnai Zion begins to offer insurance

1910  |  Bnai Zion begins to offer insurance

New York State Insurance Department grants an official charter to Bnai Zion to offer insurance products to its members.  

1908
Order of the Sons of Zion founded

1908  |  Order of the Sons of Zion founded

The Order of the Sons of Zion, now known as Bnai Zion Founation, was founded. Its major objectives were to aid in the support of all Jewish institutions that strengthen Jewish peoplehood; to spread the knowledge and study of the Hebrew language and Jewish history; to provide life insurance to members of the Order from $100 to $2,000; and to aid every member of the Order in case of need or sickness.