First Unity Lodge was the first joint men’s and women’s Lodge in the world. It was formed 50 years ago from a nucleus of young people who had previously been members of a B’nai Brith Young Adult Lodge. We are a friendly group of around 90 people and meet fortnightly on Sunday evenings in members’ homes.
This, being our 50th anniversary year, in addition to our popular fortnightly Sunday evening programmes, we have enjoyed a wonderful weekend away in Hunton Park and a 50th anniversary tea party with entertainment. We occasionally use the communal lounge at Frances & Dick James Court where tenants are also invited. Afternoon meetings offer an alternative to those who prefer daytime attendance. Monthly Bridge sessions also feature.
Our Annual Unity Lecture was this year given by Rabbi Rodney Mariner who addressed Unity through Diversity. We also enjoyed a New Year’s Eve party, a Summer Party and our annual Walter Hoffman outing which this year was a tour of the V&A with a Jewish twist. Other programmes have included Life after Brexit, Jewish Bletchley Park, a talk on the first woman rabbi and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg who, together with his dog, talked about his book My Dear Ones. We have plenty of homegrown talent and programmes included poetry, musical and contribution meetings.
As our Lodge is drawn from all over North West London, we have experimented by dividing our membership into area groups which meet independently to give people an opportunity to get to know each other better – our Sunday meetings tend to be large. This initiative will, we hope, help newer members to become more active and maybe offer their homes for smaller meetings. This is still a work in progress. This year we have also held some craft workshops on patchwork, jewellery and mosaic-making.
The Fundraising Committee events have organised two events during the year: Howard Jacobs spoke about the psychology of early Disney films, complete with clips, and Lord Winston regaled us with memories of his early days as a young doctor as well bringing up to date with his latest research. These events raised money for BBUK projects. In addition to our usual donations, we have made some extra donations from our funds in recognition of our golden anniversary. We continue with our Quartet of Presidents, each taking three months of the year. It works well for us.
Registered Charity No 1075516