||Constitution of The Workman's Circle, U.S. socialistically and culturally oriented Jewish fraternal order; organized in 1900 for the twofold purpose of providing its members with mutual aid, health, and death benefits, and other fraternal services, and of supporting the labor and socialist movements throughout the world. Dedicated to the promotion of progressive Yiddish culture, the Workmen's Circle developed a broad spectrum of cultural activities, consisting of publication of books, promotion of adult education, sponsorship of singing and dramatic clubs, etc. In 1916 it entered the field of Jewish education by opening afternoon schools for Jewish children: they have since become the largest network of Jewish secular schools in the United States. In the U.S., where no socialist party of any consequence exists, it is today one of the most important repositories of socialist sentiment and has been a decisive factor in defeating Communist ambitions in the Jewish environment.
During its early period, the leadership of the Workmen's Circle shared the assimilationist-cosmopolitan attitudes of the founders of the Jewish labor movement in America. Later, Bundist conceptions had greatest influence in its governing bodies, although many individual branches adhered to other movements. A marked turn in the ideological direction of the Workmen's Circle took place with the rise of the State of Israel, of which it has been a staunch supporter since inception. A founder and leader of the People's Relief Committee during World War I years, it has been the backbone of the Jewish Labor Committee since 1934. It also spearheaded the formation of the Congress for Jewish Culture in 1948.
The largest Jewish benefit organization, the Workmen's Circle, along with all American fraternal orders which drew their membership primarily from the immigration population, has not been able to establish much of a following among the native-born elements, although it did make some headway among the offspring of the older members. In 1967 the Workmen's Circle had 64,000 members divided into 421 branches, of which 98 were English-speaking. It maintained three homes for aged members, owned two camps in the United States and one in Canada, sponsored the Folksbihne, an amateur Yiddish theater under professional direction, and supported several choirs. Its publications included a Yiddish monthly, Der Fraynd, and the Workmen's Circle Call.