The Lodge was originally named the Witbank Lodge but the name was changed in 1944
The Lodge participated in all Jewish activities in the town and the district, and it helped largely in the building of the communal Hall; in 1939. During the Second World War the members of the Lodge who proceeded on active service were cared for, and a most effective system of rehabilitation was embarked upon when they returned.
In 1944 this Lodge applied for and was granted permission to rename itself the M M Ussishkin Lodge after the great Zionist Leader of that name.
The vibrant Jewish community of Witbank continued to play a noteworthy role in the affairs of South African Jewry. It was a strong outpost of the Zionist movement whose influence was indeed formidable. Large sums were raised for all the Zionist Campaign and no overseas emissary failed to visit Witbank.
The Lodge maintained its activities with speakers visiting Witbank regularly and the brethren from nearby Middelburg attended meetings regularly. Visits were also undertaken to sister Lodges in Bethal and Springs and from time to time the Lodge meetings were held in Middelburg.
The 1960’s began to see the decline of the rural Jewish communities. Whereas Witbank itself had become a large mining and industrial town with the population trebling in numbers within a decade, the Jewish community was shrinking on numbers. Young people had left to go to University in the big cities and never returned.
The Shul which had been the hub of Jewish communal activities but was now situated in the centre of the Commercial Centre was sold and a beautiful Jewish Centre was built in the suburbs. It was hoped that the new centre would cater for a growing Jewish community in the Eastern Transvaal. Alas, this does not appear to have materialised.
Because of the proximity to the Military Camp the Lodge took upon itself to cater to the needs of the Jewish trainees who would attend Shul on Friday nights and be entertained to supper by the community.
Towards the end of 1982 the Lodge decided to go into recess as it could no longer muster a quorum for meetings and the Lodge finally handed back its Charter to the Grand Lodge. Among those who played a noteworthy part in the Lodge activities was Wor Bro Barney Hope, Wor Bro Les Gafenowitz. Wor Bro S J Young and Wor Bro Vic Burman.
Witbank, renamed eMalahleni in 2006, is a city situated on the Highveld of Mpumalanga, South Africa, within the eMalahleni Local Municipality. The name Witbank is Afrikaans for "white ridge", and is named after a white sandstone outcrop where wagon transport drivers rested. The city is known for the coal-mining in the surrounding region. Read more....
Witbank Jewish Community
Read Witbank Jewish Community by Barry Mann
History of Witbank
See Witbank Website and History
Naming of the Lodge
Menachem Mendel Ussishkin, Hebrew: מנחם אוסישקין) (August 14, 1863 – October 2, 1941) was a Russian-born Zionist leader and head of the Jewish National Fund. Read more
Bro Louis Morris (Lionel) Blieden
Wor Bro Joseph Katz
Wor Bro Hyman Stein
Bro M Menachemson
Bro J E Manesewitz
Bro S Berkowitz
Bro B Hotz
Bro W Wolf
Bro E Berkowitz
Wor Bro I L Shein
Wor Bro S J Young
Wor Bro M H Katz
Wor Bro I Schech
Bro P Froman
Wor Bro I Arkles
Wor Bro Hillman S Gavronsky
Wor Bro A Becker
Wor Bro Maurice Bernitz
Wor Bro Theodore Tobias (Toby) Sandler
Wor Bro Walter Blum
Bro Ivor Goodman
Bro Joseph Gavshon
Wor Bro Gerald Morris
Wor Bro Leibe Woolf Blumenfeld
Wor Bro Leslie Isadore Gafenowitz
Bro Gerald Lazarus
Wor Bro Louis Maurice Sanders
Wor Bro Ernest Marks
Bro Morris Harry Mann
Wor Bro Victor Burman