South Miami Lodge #308 F.A.M.

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Sir Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi and Freemason

Posted by Sam Salama P.M. on May 6, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Please see photo in the photo section.


We are taught that Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at perpetual distance, here's a short history of a Rabbi and Mason.


The Very Reverend Sir Israel Brodie (1895?1975), Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the British Commonwealth of Nations (1948?65), was an active and energetic Freemason and personified British Jewry at its best.

Israel Brodie, son of Aaron, was born in Newcastle-upon- Tyne on 10 May 1895 and received his primary education at Rutherford College, in the same city. This followed with higher education at Jews? College and University College, London and finally at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1917 Israel Brodie enlisted in the RAF and served as a Jewish Chaplain to the Forces to the end of the war. In 1921 he worked for social services in the East End of London until an opportunity to move to Australia came up.

During Chief Rabbi Dr Joseph Hertz?s visit to Australia in 1921 Rabbi Brodie was recommended and finally appointed to replace Rabbi Dr Joseph Abrahams as chief minister of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation. He served the community from 1923 to 1937. He was the first President of the Zionist Federation of Australia and New Zealand (ZFANZ) established in 1927 to co-ordinate the activities of the State Zionist Councils of Australia under the patronage of Sir John Monash. In 1937 Rabbi Brodie expressed interest in returning to England which was a disappointing news to congregants in Australia.

The Lodge of Israel in London welcomed him on 25 January 1944 as a visitor and saluted him as a Past Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. Within two years, on 19 November 1946, the year, incidentally, of his marriage to Fanny Levine, a native of Warsaw, he joined the Montefiore Lodge No. 1017, proposed by Bro. Leslie Sober and seconded by Bro. E. Braham.

His advancement to the chair was speedy. He was elected Master in November 1948 and installed at the Café Royal in London in February 1949. He was to visit the Lodge of Israel on several later occasions: on 9 January, 1958 he was received as W Bro the V Rev Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi and was accompanied by RW Bro Max Seligman, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel. He returned again on 28 April 1960, once more accompanied by Max Seligman, now the MW Grand Master of Israel.


By now Israel Brodie had been appointed Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and it is not surprising that the Montefiore Lodge attendance book for the day, which has eight pages added, lists 466 guests, including 169 Installed Masters.

It reads like a Masonic Who?s Who: the Very Rev. W. Bro. Canon Lancaster, Grand Chaplain; the Very Rev. VW. Bro. Bishop of Woolwich; W. Bro. Nat Gordon, RW Master of Montefiore Lodge No. 753 Glasgow, leading a deputation from Scotland; W. Bro. Saul Taylor, IPM; W. Bro. B. R. Gates and W. Bro. S. Barclay, Past Masters and Bro. I. Hyman, and many other distinguished visitors.

The minutes record Bro Brodie?s active participation in Lodge affairs. His talks and orations were already popular, and as Master, his lecture Four Cardinal Values was particularly well received. At the end of his year as Master, the Lodge presented him with a leather-bound volume of the Summonses issued during his year in office.


Sources: MQ magazine, and others.

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1 Comment

Reply Lance
6:41 PM on August 18, 2011 
Have been interested for some time. Would like more information.