The Hebrew Order of David: from Whitechapel to Hendon via South Africa

In 1896 the Hebrew Order of Druids was registered as a friendly society at 21 Leman Street, Whitechapel, in the East End of London.1 A century later, in 1995, Lodge London No. 1, the first British lodge of the Hebrew Order of David, a South African Jewish fraternal society, was inaugurated in the Community Centre of Hendon United Synagogue in northwest London. This paper will examine the link between the two organizations.

Friendly societies generally and Jewish ones in particular have been rela? tively neglected in social history studies in this country.2 As the work of these self-help organizations spans some three centuries, and they at various times had more members than the trades unions and possessed total funds equalling or exceeding those of some early banks, the neglect is difficult to justify. Their records are important sources of social and economic information con? cerning their members, while the community’s

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