The Founding of San Bernardino’s Paradise Lodge No. 237, B’nai B’rith – 1875

Paradise Lodge No. 237, B’nai B’rith

Paradise Lodge's Charter, 1875. WS#1567

Paradise Lodge’s Charter, 1875.

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 lodge was instituted at ceremonies held at the Masonic Hall.

The San Bernardino men who comprised Paradise Lodge’s charter members included well-known merchants and members of the community, each of whom was vital to growth of San Bernardino in the years before and after the Civil War.

Founding members included: Isaac H. Levy, the lodge’s first president, Julius MeyersteinCeasar Meyerstein, Marcus Katz, Maurice D. Katz (son of Marcus), Abraham Wolff, and 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, and Abraham Jacoby (later  prominent in Los Angeles).

Herman Marks, Joseph Marks, L. Rosenbach, J. Samter, Bernard Rawicz, Morris Rittlerand Louis Migel.

Isaac Brunn. WS1568

Isaac Brunn, County Supervisor,

At the annual session of the San Francisco District Grand Lodge in 1876, president Isidor N. Choynski reported that the San Bernardino Lodge had suffered a fire, but was recovering and continuing on their way.

The fire resulted in a reorganization of the Lodge 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, the Lodge exemplified the lofty aims of B’nai B’rith:

Benevolence, Brotherly Love and Harmony

Curator’s Note: we are unable to ascertain whether the Paradise Lodge still functions. Information would be greatly appreciated.


  • “The Founding of Paradise Lodge #237 of B’nai B’rith,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 7/4.