Here, members of “The Grand Lodge of the State of Israel of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons” with some guest Masons from foreign Lodges, in Zedekiah’s Cave under the Old City of Jerusalem.
Photographed on assignment for a forthcoming issue of National Geographic Magazine.
Freemasonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the 14th century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. There are 50 lodges in Israel, with a total of about 1,200 brothers. There are special lodges, such as one named for the great illusionist Houdini, who was a Freemason. Prospective candidates for that lodge must take a course in magic and put on a magic show in a school, hospital or similar institution. There’s also a Mozart lodge, after the composer, who also belonged to the Freemasons (members have to have an interest in music). Masonry was re-established in England in 1717 as a ceremonial organisation and the first Masonic lodge in the Holy Land, known as the Royal Solomon Mother Lodge No. 293, met in this cave on May 7, 1873.
Famous Freemasons abound: 14 American presidents, including George Washington; Mark Twain; and even Theodor Tobler, Swiss inventor of Toblerone chocolate, whose design is said to be Masonic. In this picture the Brothers are linking hands in a way symbolising the chain of fellowship.
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