Consecrated 1 September 1974
The breakthrough to establish Lodges beyond the borders of South Africa came with the formation of the first Lodges in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe).
53 brethren were initiated on 1 July 1974. Excitement grew throughout the Order with the charter of a special plane to take the Brethren from all corners of South Africa to Bulawayo. The consecration of the new Lodge took place on the 1st September 1974 to great acclaim and celebration.
During its years of existence, the Lodge sponsored the African Feeding Scheme which raised substantial sums for helping African children to maintain themselves. It ensured that Savyon Lodge, the Jewish Aged Home, ably cared for the residents. The Lodge also visited and looked after the Jewish patients of the mental hospital in Bulawayo.
A regular feature each year was the Channukah Party for the Jewish community and dances and quizzes are very much part of the life in Bulawayo. One of the highlights of the year was the outing organised for the underprivileged children to the Victoria Falls.
- The Lodge presented prizes and school books to the Jewish Day Schools.
- Wor Bro Johnny Sonnabend later became the Grand Secretary of the Order.
Lodge Ashkelon has continued to participate in many communal endeavours:
Helping the African School for the Blind.Wine making for the community
Supplying school uniforms for needy children.
Giving scholarships to needy children.
Donations of clothing to homes for the aged.
A new compressor for the cold-room at Savyon Lodge
An incubator for a bush hospital in the Tribal Trust area.
Naming of the Lodge
The Lodge is named after the City of Ashkelon in Israel. Ashkelon is a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv, and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Ancient Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hasmoneans, the Romans, the Persians, the Arabs and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270. Read more...
Bulawayo (/ˌbʊləˈweɪəʊ, -ˈwɑjoʊ/; Ndebele: koBulawayo) is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland. The city's population is disputed; the 2012 census listed it at 653,337, while the Bulawayo City Council claimed it to be about 1.2 million. Bulawayo covers an area of about 1,707 square kilometres (659 sq mi) in the western part of the country, along the Matsh' Amhlope River. Along with the capital Harare, Bulawayo is one of two cities in Zimbabwe that are also a province. Read more...
Jews in Bulawayo
The Lodge is mentioned in the book Jewish Communities of the World edited by Anthony Lerman