Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
The “Grand Representative” position, of a Foreign Constitution near our Grand Lodge, is not related only to Rank and honour, but includes some very important responsibilities as well.

Firstly and most importantly, one must understand that being in such a position means to be the “warrant of amity” of the Represented Grand Lodge, near our Grand Lodge. And as such, we must continually maintain the best assiduous relations with the Grand Lodge we represent.

It becomes necessary to establish personal links, exchange correspondence with our Grand Representative in the Foreign Constitution and even try and visit the Grand Lodge we represent, during the period of our appointment.

I planned to fulfil my duty during the months of April and May 2006. In order to cover the two Grand Lodges I represent, the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel and the National Grand Lodge of Romania, I joined a delegation of my Mother Lodge in Tel Aviv on a fraternal trip to Romania. But a short word on the background is necessary. My Mother Lodge Hashahar, under the Israeli Jurisdiction was created by a group of Masons who emigrated from Romania, which included my father, back in 1951. These Masons fled the Communist Regime and brought with them to the New-Old Land, the ancient Masonic tradition. The Lodge obtained the permission to use the Romanian language in their Masonic work and thus it became the only Lodge in the world to work its Ritual in Romanian, for the next 40 years. When after the collapse of the Communists, the Light of Freemasonry was rekindled in Romania, this historical contribution was rightly recognised.

In April a delegation of the Lodge visited Romania and participated to a Twinning and an Installation. I took advantage of this trip and joined the group.

After 60 years of absence, I found in Romania the same fantastic spirit of welcome that is a second nature amongst the people of the Balkans. I had the moving opportunity to walk again in the streets where as a child, my hair in the wind, my knees wound by frequent falls, I was riding my bike. I visited my grand parents in the Bucharest Cemetery and the places were I lived, played and hid during the war.

But the highlight of my visit was the meeting with the Grand Master of the GL of Romania, MW Bro. Eugen Ovidiu Chirovici, a highly educated, articulate, young (44) Mason who expressed with warmth and eloquence feelings and determination to advance our Order in an ever changing society, after almost 50 years of dark Communist oppression.

In the presence of the Grand Secretary and the Deputy Grand Master, as well as other members of his Grand Team, the Grand Master received me in his Suite in the former Royal Palace, in the very room which served as office to the last Dictator Ceausescu.

From the Grand Master hands, I received the Grand Representative Jewel and the 125 years Anniversary Medal of the Grand National Lodge of Romania, as well as a Certificate for Distinguished Services to Universal Freemasonry in general and to the National Grand Lodge of Romania in particular.

I was also handed the 3 volumes of the Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Romanian Freemasonry of which 2 pages are dedicated to my family Masonic lineage and to myself. I handed to the Grand Master, a souvenir Gavel adorned with the Jewels of our two Grand Lodges as a token of our esteem and appreciation for his Masonic work, together with the most sincere greetings of my Grand Master, MW Bro. Ray Brooke and the members of our Jurisdiction. The atmosphere was elating, in true Masonic Brotherly Love and GM Chirovici asked me to convey his best fraternal regards together with his thanks to our Grand Master.

I spent two perfect nights working in two Romanian Lodges and made a point of widening my horizons of true friendship with the Romanian Masons. My last three days in Romania, were dedicated to contacts with the Grand Librarian and the Grand Historian as well as with other prominent members of the Craft, high in the Carpathian Mountains, in Sinaia, a relaxing retreat for the kings of the German Hohenzollern dynasty, as guest of my newly acquired Masonic friends. I left with a warm impression of stability and dignity for our Order, re-established to its past glory in the land of my ancestors.

In Tel-Aviv, I was welcomed by VW Bro Dr. Isaac Maimon, a Honorary Member of my Lodge Woollahra, and IPM of Lodge Sharon –Star of Israel, with whom I initiated 3 years ago, the first Twinning to take place in NSW. Dedicated to his Mother Lodge Woollahra 341, as he is, our Isaac took me to attend all the invitations including Dinner at the residence of PGM Woolfie Kantor, a Brother which I love and respect. I was also invited to dinner by PGM Arthur Mark, a dear friend and Brother who was the SW of my Mother Lodge when I was in the Chair. He presented to me the “Distinguished Merit Award” Jewel of the Grand Lodge of Israel, for services rendered to the Grand Lodge and to Freemasonry.

I had the opportunity to meet with the Grand Secretary, RW Bro. Victor Serezo, who chaired a Lodge in the same District and on the same year as me, and enjoy the pleasure of shared memories of youth, optimism and dedication. It was great to know that we still feel the same attachment to our Craft. I visited the Library which houses my fathers books and the Museum with relics of great Masonic symbolism.

My official meeting with the GM, MW Bro Sami Raphaeli, took place in his suite at the Israeli Grand Lodge in Tel Aviv.

We had a pleasant and - for me, at least - instructive exchange on the many aspects of our Craft and the GM showed great interest in our United Grand Lodge of NSW and the ACT activity. During the pleasant and warm meeting, where protocol was of secondary importance, according to the best Israeli tradition, I remitted to GM Raphaeli a Symbolic Rosewood Gavel with a dedication on behalf of our Grand Master Ray Brooke and was asked to convey hearty thanks to our Grand Master with the assurance of reciprocal sentiments and the sincere hope for a continuous development of the existing perfect relations between our two Grand Lodges. Our meeting continued when the GM invited me to participate, on the same night, as part of his GL delegation to the Installation of the WM in Lodge ”Sharon –Star of Israel”, Lodge Woollahra’s Twin.

There I could appreciate again VW Bro. Dr. Maimon work in lodge, a true perfect expression of the skills acquired and developed in his Australian Lodge Woollahra.

Such was the conclusion of my double mission in the two Jurisdictions that I represent here, with a good feeling of achievement and the satisfaction of a Masonic work well done.

by RW Bro J V Haffner PJGW- Past Grand Librarian