Celebrating Over 100 Years
B’nai Brith Calgary Lodge #816 – Established in 1917
Calgary B’nai Brith Lodge #816 receives charter June 17, 1917 from B’nai Brith District 6, Chicago, Ill. The first president is Benjamin Ginsberg.
1918 – Lodge runs soup kitchen during Calgary flu epidemic.
Lodge develops bowling, curling and baseball leagues, fundraises for community assistance, and combats anti-Semitism.
1938 – Calgary Lodge hosts 2nd annual conference Western Canadian Council B’nai Brith.
World War II – Lodge members staff Victory Bond drives; assist in recruiting; assist in purchasing ambulance for use overseas; help furnish Colonel Belcher Hospital for vets; organize entertainment and religious services for Jewish armed forces personnel.
May 19, 1946 – Calgary Lodge hosts “Welcome Home” banquet for Jewish war vets. Eight Lodge members perished in action.
1947 – Alberta and Saskatchewan Lodges break away from Western Canadian Council, form Northwest Canadian Council which endures until 1987 when all Canadian Lodges unite to form District 22 B’nai Brith Canada.
1949 – Lodge hosts guest speaker Eleanor Roosevelt. 5000 people attend.
1950s – Calgary Lodge hosts curling league & annual bonspiel at Meadowlark Curling Club, which is later demolished to make room for Chinook Centre.
1954–57 – Calgary Lodge donates one station wagon per year to Council for handicapped children.
1962 – Calgary Lodge donates school bus to Calgary Association for handicapped children.
1965 – Calgary Lodge hosts a concert at Jubilee Auditorium with guest performer Jan Peerce.
1975 – Calgary Lodge co-hosts celebrity tennis tournament. Guests include: Efrem Zimbalist Jr.; Paul Anka; Ed Ames; Johnny Carson; Robert Culp; James Franciscus; Merv Griffin; Steve Lawrence & Edy Gorme; Dan Rowan; O.J. Simpson; Lloyd Bridges; Bill Cosby; Clint Eastwood; Desi & Lucy Arnaz; Lorne Green; Charlton Heston; Terry Moore; George Peppard; Telly Savalas; and James Brolin.
1983 – Calgary Lodge sponsors the restoration of Torah Scroll rescued from Holocaust.
1990 – Calgary Lodge League for Human Rights creates pins to promote racial harmony. Receives orders for over 16,000 pins.
1993 – Calgary Lodge purchases Torah Scroll from a closed synagogue in Moose Jaw. Donates to Chabad Lubavitch of Southern Alberta – their first Torah Scroll.
1994 – 44th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honors Premier Ralph Klein and local hotelier Leo Sheftel.
1999 – 49th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner sells out honoring Les Pyette, publisher Calgary Sun, and local philanthropist Leonard Shapiro.
55th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner sells out honoring Hon. Ron Ghitter and local businessman John Forzani.
57th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner sells out honouring Gen. Rick Hillier. Raises $50,000 for Military Family Fund. Government of Alberta matches the donation.
58th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honors “Calgary’s Next Generation of Philanthropists” in support of Prostate Cancer – The Southern Alberta Institute of Urology. The “Brat Pack” honorees include: Brett Wilson; Jeff Kohn; Gregg Scott; Rob Proud; Jim Davidson; Matt Brister; Glenn Hamilton; Don Hanson; Paul Wanklyn; Michael Smith; John Brussa; Keith MacPhail; and Brian McLachlan.
59th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honors the Honourable Norma Kwong, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.
60th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner special guest is the honourable Ed Stelmach, Permier of Alberta.
61st annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honours first Canadian Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi.
63rd annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honours Senator Gen. (ret’d) Romeo Dallaire and local businessman Alfred Balm.
64th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honours NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and local philanthropist Alvin Libin.
66th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner sells out honouring former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper.
67th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honours the Premier of Alberta, Hon. Rachel Notley.
68th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner honours Chair & Chief Executive Officer, ATCO Ltd. and Canadian Utilities Limited, Nancy C. Southern.
69th annual Calgary B’nai Brith Dinner takes place before global pandemic, honouring former Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall. Chapter Members thank Dr. Robert Barsky for his years leading the organization and welcome a new board. Organization rebrands, launches new website, and renews commitment.
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Ben Docktor Award of Excellence
Since its inception in 1993, the Ben Docktor Award of Excellence has been presented to an individual who has contributed to fostering the growth and development of the annual B’nai Brith Dinner. Award recipients lead by example and personify B’nai Brith’s principles of Benevolence, Brotherly Love, and Harmony through volunteer work and dedication in the greater Calgary community.