Consecrated November 1906
Only a few years passed since its inception before the Order began to extend its activities to other areas on the Reef. A Lodge named after the Hon Max Langermann, MLC, one of the most distinguished Jews in South Africa of his generation was established in Germiston in November 1906, by four prominent officials of the Dr Herzl Lodge, Bros J Distiller, L Faiga, S Lowenberg and A Gabbaholz. On The 21st April 1907, prior to the consecration of the new Lodge, 45 new candidates were initiated by members of the Dr Herzl Lodge.
At the time the Max Langermann Lodge was getting into its stride the London Jewish Chronicle of the 5th January, 1907 reported that “a dispensation had been granted to a new branch of the Hebrew Order of Druids at Krugersdorp”. It seems that it was in 1907 and not 1910 as frequently assumed, that the Krugersdorp Lodge was consecrated – later known as the David Ben Gurion Lodge, after it was revived in 1948.
It was decided in 1910 that the Order would act entirely independently of its English counterpart, and it was not long after that the Grand Lodge was formed.
Another important matter that engaged the attention of members in the early days was the name of the Order. The first body to take action in changing the name of the Order from the Hebrew Order of Druids to the Hebrew Order of David, was the Max Langermann Lodge and at a special meeting held in 1915 the Lodge unanimously adopted the following resolution:-
“The Lodge adopted in principle the advisability of the Order being changed to a name more suitable and characteristic of the personnel and objects of the Order, and that our Grand Lodge delegate be specially instructed to urge upon Grand Lodge the necessity of such a change being made”
It was no easy task to persuade the leaders of the Order to agree to the suggested change, in fact it took some years before the proposal was carried and put into effect.
On November 16, 1919, a final general meeting was held at Germiston to which a delegation from Grand Lodge consisting of the Grand President, Deputy Grand President and Wor Bro Joseph Distiller were invited to express their dissenting views. A vote was taken and out of 79 brethren present 75 were in favour of the change. Thereafter, opposition from other centres was gradually worn down and at the end of 1921, we find from printed records, that to its greater glory the Order assumed the rightful title of the Hebrew Order of David.
Jews in Germiston
It has been said that Litvak immigrants were optimistic, courageous, adaptable, industrious and generous. These qualities were certainly discernible in the founders of the Germiston Jewish community. Above all they were devoted to their religion and Jewishness while contributing much to the progress of the (East Rand) town. Read more...
Naming of the Lodge
The Lodge was named in honour of Max Langermann (1859–1919) a South African mining pioneer. Born in Bavaria, he went to South Africa at the age of 20 and served in two military campaigns against African tribesmen.
In the early days of the goldfields he went to Johannesburg, prospecting for minerals and taking part in industrial projects. He was particularly interested in town planning and laid out several residential suburbs in the growing mining center. Langermann was associated with the political agitation which led to the Jameson Raid (1895) and was imprisoned and fined for his activities. After the South African War(1899–1902) he sat on the Johannesburg town council and helped to gain municipal franchise for aliens.
In 1907 he became a member of the Transvaal legislative council. One of the most prominent Jewish personalities of his time in the Transvaal, Langermann played a leading role in the formation of the Transvaal and Natal Jewish Board of Deputies in Johannesburg in 1903 and was its first president. For a time he headed the Territorial Organization in South Africa.