The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Anita M. Perlman

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Anita M. Perlman until we are able to commission a full entry.

Anita Perlman, founder of B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG). Courtesy of BBYO.

Anita M. Perlman was a feminist visionary, leader, and philanthropist. She was born in 1906 in Butte, MT, and is best known for founding the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG)—the young women’s division of BBYO—in 1944. BBG is one of the world's largest and most historic sisterhoods shared by Jewish women, currently serving tens of thousands of Jewish teen girls across the globe, with hundreds of thousands of alumnae working to strengthen and advance the Jewish people and the world at large across all sectors of society.

Perlman’s hope for the young women of BBG was built on the notion that “the unique B’nai B’rith Girls way of life helps you find and express your Jewish identity, while expanding your circle of friends. [...] BBG offers you the chance to acquire knowledge and to make choices. [...] The more of yourself that you give to BBG [and the world around you], the more you will receive” (BBG Member's Manual, 2019). Her vision was to build the largest organization of young Jewish women in the world; today, that dream has been realized through the hundreds of thriving chapters operating across 50 countries.

In addition to her philanthropy and leadership, Perlman raised two children in Chicago, IL. She died in 1996 at the age of 90.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Anita M. Perlman." (Viewed on September 20, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/perlman-anita>.

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