History & Development
The Hebrew Order of David is a successor organization to a Jewish brotherhood originally established in England in 1896 as a friendly society for the benefit of its members.
In 1904, a branch of the order was formed in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Joseph Distiller, an emigrant from London, whose principal purpose was the establishment of a friendly society to provide companionship and assistance for Jewish immigrants particularly those from Eastern Europe.
By 1907, two further lodges had been formed in the other cities of South Africa and the organization began to expand. However, by the end of the 1920s, the Order ceased to exist in England.
As emigration from South Africa commenced in earnest from the 1960s, a number of other lodges were formed around the world. In 1995, the order was revived in the United Kingdom and in 1999 a lodge was established in Atlanta, U.S.A.
Today there are 23 Lodges worldwide, with direction and policy being provided by Grand Lodge in South Africa. Most Lodges are autonomous within a country but are supervised by a regional Governing Lodge, appointed by members of the individual Lodges concerned. All Lodges are affiliated to Grand Lodge, presently based in South Africa.
Currently there are eight Lodges in the Unites States. Four in Atlanta and one in each of the following cities, Boca Raton, Dallas, Houston and San Diego. In addition, there is one Lodge in Toronto, Canada, three in London, England, two in Israel in South Africa.
The Hebrew Order of David, despite its name and despite certain of its traditions, is neither a secret society nor a Masonic organization.
The purpose of the Order is to provide an opportunity for Jews of all persuasions to be in an atmosphere of friendship, care and concern for their fellow members, known as brethren, and the wider community in general; its members are its greatest asset.
Brethren are encouraged to practice the ideals of the order which are Achdut (Unity), Achvah (Fraternity), Ahavah (Love) and Shalom (Peace) – both amongst its members throughout the world and for the benefit of the less fortunate in the general community.
Unity provides both an interest in and a concern for the fellow brethren. Integration of members is a key objective, done through monthly meetings where new brethren will get to know other members better, form common interests and feel comfortable in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The prerequisites to joining the Order are to be a male and Jewish and either married within or committed to marrying within the Jewish Faith.
This creates a comfortable atmosphere offering Fraternity from a wide range of backgrounds of fellow brethren.
The principle of Love is developed, through the brotherly feeling the HOD nurtures between brethren. An open mind and a desire to belong to the Order are all that is required – a genuine concern for fellow members arises through available support for members who experience financial strain through job loss or other reasons.
Though brotherhood is the primary objective of the Order, the major emphasis is on charity work for the benefit of the Jewish, as well as, the wider community. This provides members with inner contentment and Peace for the good it engenders. It is encouraged at all times.