Paradise Lodge No. 237, B’nai B’rith
Paradise Lodge No. 237 of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith was instituted in San Bernardino, California in May of 1875.
Isidor N. Choynski, of San Francisco, President of the Grand Lodge of B’nai B’rith, District #4 led the installing delegation which consisted principally of Los Angeles Jewish figures.
The San Bernardino men who were Paradise Lodge’s charter members consisted of well known merchants and members of the community.
Each of them had played a vital part in the growth of San Bernardino in the years before and after the Civil War.
They were: Isaac H. Levy (the lodge’s first president), Julius Meyerstein, Ceasar Meyerstein, Marcus Katz, Maurice D. Katz (son of Marcus), Abraham Wolff, Isaac R. Brunn (San Bernardino County Supervisor in 1876 and 1877), Lewis Caro, Morris Wolff, W. Crolik, Philip Drachman (later prominent in Tucson), Wolf Fleisher, Hyman Goldberg, Abraham Horowitz, Abraham Jacoby (later to be a prominent Los Angeles merchant), Herman Marks, Joseph Marks, L. Rosenbach, J. Samter, Bernard Rawicz, Morris Rittler and Louis Migel.
The lodge was instituted at ceremonies held at the Masonic Hall.
At the annual session of the District Grand Lodge in 1876, in San Francisco, President I. N. Choynski reported that the San Bernardino Lodge had suffered a fire, but was recovering and continuing on their way.
The fire in San Bernardino reported by Choynski resulted in a reorganization of theLlodge in February. Marcus Katz became the new Lodge President.
One of the members of Paradise Lodge, Hon. Mr. [Hyman] Goldberg, was a member of the Assembly of Arizona, elected by the votes of both political parties.
Hyman Goldberg “harangued” potential members to join for its disability and death benefits.
Each candidate had to undergo a physical examination as well as an investigation into his morals and character.
Various social and cultural activities such as hay rides and debates were also held by Paradise Lodge for families and friends.
The home of the Wolff family, in particular, was a center of lodge activity.’
In 1883, Marcus Katz presented the deed for the Jewish burial ground to the Lodge, and with this acquisition, B’nai B’rith activities took on new proportions.
The membership, then led by Joseph Krausman, became involved in the upkeep and management of the cemetery.
From its beginnings in 1875, with a handful of San Bernardino Jewish pioneers, it existed to exemplify the lofty aims of B’nai B’rith: Benevolence, Brotherly Love and Harmony.
At this date we are unable to ascertain whether the Paradise Lodge still functions.
Information would be greatly appreciated. (use our “Comments” or “Feedback” pages.)
More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:
- The Founding of Paradise Lodge #237 of B’nai B’rith, Western States Jewish History, Vol. VII, #4
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