Bible History

The history of the Jewish people does not reflect Jews as such prior to Abraham.

but starts with him as our first forefather and continues with the stories of his succeeding generations till the event of Moses at Mount Sinai receiving the commandments, and that is when the Jewish People became a nation.

So, it is also with the development of the HOD on when and how it had it’s teething beginnings began some 2,500 years ago and reaching its official birth status in 1896. They were then called the Druids.

Who were they? From where did they originate? What do they have in common with our own Hebrew Order of David?


The Druids lived in Europe formerly known as Gaul. At one stage they encompassed Germany, Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and parts of Italy and Switzerland. Their main habitat seemed to be the British Isles. For our purpose, we shall deal with the Druids in England where myriads of secret societies (here-in-after referred to as Order) had branches, each one attempting to assist members (men as well as women) with advice, guidance, and physical assistance. Membership cost was meagre and served as a boon to the poor.

One of such well known Order existed in the 20th Century in London with an active branch in Johannesburg, South Africa entitled “The Ancient Order of the Foresters”. I recall this Jewish active involvement by my uncle Leon Segal (Founder of the Selwyn Segal Orgnization (his late son) together with his wife Fanny. His brother, (my father Lewis Alhanan Segall opted for the HOD instead.

So back to the Druids with whom we are dealing as our progenitor.

1 The word Druid is not known etymologically, but scholars agree that the word comes from the Irish-Gaelic which means “oak tree,” and which has great significance in many ancient cultures representing abundance and wisdom. The Druids revered the natural world, and the oak particularly was seen as sacred.

They are recognized as having been the oldest such society in the world.

The Druids were a significant ancient Celtic religion with a high state of cultural activities but were not their own race. The Druid title was viewed as a high-ranking social class.

They were well known and recognized as people of highly attained knowledge in many aspects of life, and recognized first by the Greek writers and later by the Romans who encountered them in Gaul and Britain. According to these sources, they were a learned caste who officiated in religious ceremonies, taught ancient wisdom, and were revered as philosophers within Celtic societies made up of tribes leading men and women (they had gender equality) as priests, historians, teachers, and judges.

They came from a culture with a strong oral tradition passing information through poems, songs, and stories. What we know today came from archaeological evidence and second hand- written accounts.

Besides the services mentioned above, they also provided additional activities such as divining, law involvement, military strategist, and political adviser. To neighboring tribes, the Druids knowledge in the services they provided was deemed invaluable.

Apparently, the Druids were said to believe that the soul was immortal and passed at death from one person to another. A Druid title was viewed as a high-ranking social class.

However, the Druids were fiercely outspoken against their enemy, Roman Rule, which became a thorn in the side of the Empire and who treated the Druids as “savages” of the north with whom they traded. This resulted in the sacred groves of the Druids being desecrated and people slaughtered. Their surviving practices were outlawed by the Romans.

2 Although the Druids did not allow recordings of their civilization, Julius Caeser, who conquered Gaul in 58-50 B.C.E., invaded Britain thereafter and he became the principle source of information about the Druids. In a series of books collectively known as “The Galic Wars”, Casaer wrote that the Druids “engaged in things sacred, conducting the public and private sacrifices, interpreting all matters of religion and settling disputes”.

Certain thinkers have associated Stonehenge with the Druids, but this is not so, as Druidism emerged in the last half of the first millennium long after Stonehenge was built.


Brother Joseph Distiller (born in Poland and emigrated to England) became associated with the Order of the Druids because of the similarity of their cultural activities and was influential in its formation in England in 1896. Within 8 years, Bro. Joseph Distiller as well as Brother Louis Faiga (also born in Poland) moved to South Africa 1896 and through their creative abilities, the Order was created as a branch in Johannesburg November 27th  1904.

The late S.A. Rochlin (South African Historian and Archivist) wrote in his “First Fifty Years” as follows: “It is of interest to note that the H.O.D. was the first body of its kind in the British Commonwealth outside of England to be established in the British Empire.”

“They did so at a time when, following the conclusion of the South African War of 1899-1902, local economic, social, and other conditions were, overall, not very alluring to the immigrant Jews, especially those from Eastern Europe…. This period witnessed not only a general re-orientation of organized Jewish life here, but also the urgent need of the newly arrived Jews to seek a closer companionship among their own people, to improve their economic position and generally to re-adjust themselves in a none too friendly surrounding”.

3 Historical events – London 1896 *The official opening of the 1896 Summer Olympics was the first modern time the Olympics were celebrated in the past 1500 years previously in Athen. * Walter Arnold was the first person to be fined for speeding in London. *The sum of 1 shilling (10 cents) for passing the allowed speed of 8 miles per minute. * sweet (candy) Tootsie Roll was invented.  *A.S. Propov was the first man in history to send a radio signal transmission. *Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for his newest invention – the radio. *Henry Ford tested his first gas powered automobile, the F.Quadricle. *During the Coronation of Nicholas, the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, a panic broke out causing 1389 deaths. *The shortest war in history took place from 9 am ended 9.45 a.m. between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.


The Order changed its name in South Africa by majority vote on 16 November 1919 and by the end of 1921, the Order assumed the rightful title of the Hebrew Order of David.

The Order continued to grow and by the time the first Conference of the Order took place in Johannesburg on 29 June 1924, the following Lodges had been Consecrated: Pretoria, Boksburg, Springs, and Witbank.

4 The Grand Lodge is situated in South Africa. Most Lodges are autonomous by members of the individual Lodges concerned. All Lodges are affiliated to Grand Lodge. At the time of printing, there are currently 9 Lodges in the United States, 4 in Atlanta and one in each of the following cities: Boca Raton, Dallas, 2 in Houston and San Diego. In addition, there is 1 Lodge in Toronto, Canada, 3 in London, England, 2 in Israel and 6 in South Africa.

HOD is a forum for growing Jewish adult male members, spiraling as a cohesive fraternal unit, supporting its members serving the community and applying Jewish ideals and values for personal development. It also collects funds and distributes aid in the pursuit of relieving suffering where it is required.

Historical events South Africa 1904 *Pneumonic Plague broke out in Johannesburg. *A Yiddish newspaper was printed entitled “Der Shtral”. *South Africa’s first President, Paul Kruger, died in Switzerland. *Jewish Population was 38,101 (twice as many as women) *Jewish Population grew (1880-1914) = 40,000 *The Second Boer War ended in 1902. (HOD established 1904)


Why and when was the Magen David chosen as a Jewish symbol?

In mathematical use, the official name is Hexagram (Greek) which is a 6-pointed star figure used to refer to a compound figure of 2 equilateral triangles.

According to Wikipedia, this star is the oldest known depiction dating back to the 3rd millennium B.C. and used by many religions as well as organizations.

Within Indic lore, the shape is understood to consist of 2 triangles – one pointed up and the other down- locked in harmonious embrace which represents Creation.

5 In Buddhism, the Sanskrit Tantric tradition refers to balance, calmness and serenity. The Mormons symbolizes God reaching down to man and man reaching up to God.

In Islam, it symbolizes the Seal of Solomon.

In Freemasonry, the interlacing triangles symbolize the union of two principles or forces – the active and the passive, male and female, pervading the universe. The two interlacing triangles typify opposites in nature – darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance, and wisdom, evil and good.

In Judaism, the double triangle symbolizes the connection of both dimensions of God, Torah, and Israel. The external level of the soul connects to the external expression of God via studying the esoteric parts of Torah. The essence of the soul connects with God’s essence through the study and application of the Kabbalah which teaches that God created the world with seven spiritual building blocks – His seven “emotional”attributes. Accordingly, the entire creation reflects these seven foundational attributes.


In Alchemy the Seal symbolizes the Philosopher’s Stone because it joined the symbol of fire, an upright triangle, with the symbol of water, an inverted triangle. This Seal first appeared as early as the Bronze Age as a decoration on lamps, seals, and artifacts. The Hexagram and “real” name of God was etched in Arabic on the Ring of King Solomon which enabled him to command an army of Demons, the djinn. As an amulet, the Seal protected against the Evil Eye and Lilith, the terrible demon who stole children during the night. The most important use of the Seal was in the Magic, as a talisman to control the demons and spirits conjured by the magicians.


So where did the Magen David come from and is it a Jewish symbol?

There is a theory that the Seal of Solomon was adopted by Jews from Islamic magic literature but did not include the term “shield of David”, but Jewish roots show the Talmud’s mention of the star in question as being engraved on the Seal and also that Jewish alchemists were the Jewish teachers of their Muslim and Christian counterparts during the 2 nd or 3 rd century C.E.

One millennium later, the star would begin to be used as a symbolic identification of Jewish communities, a tradition that seems teachings of Kabbalah to have started in Prague before the 17 th century and from there spread throughout Europe.

In fact, again in Prague in 1354, King Charles VI created a red flag with the Magen

David displayed brazenly for the Jews and what was meant to be Solomons Seal.

In the 19 th century, it came to be adopted by European Jewry as a symbolic representative of Jewish religion or identity. especially after the worldwide Zionist community used it on a flag at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basle, Switzerland. As a result of this exposure, it became used by Jewish communities particularly Jewish affiliated athletics.

The use of the Hexagram in a Jewish context as a possibly meaningful symbol may have occurred as early as the 11 th century in the decoration of the famous Tanach manuscript dated 1307 - even at ancient Capernaum Synagogue as a decoration.

Jewish History shows the many events which prompted the choice of the Magen David as their symbol of existence.

Way back as far as Biblical times proves this point. The Bible tells us that David captured the Jebusite strong hold of Jerusalem and made it the seat of the first national monarchy and which flourished 1,000 years (BCE). our country of Israel which represents martyrdom, heroism and the reality of our dreams and aspirations.

The following is a short list of events on the reasons for the claim to the Magen David as a Jewish symbol of our existence. 7


*The Shinto Religion in Japan used the Hexagram.

*The King of Babylonia in Persia used the symbol as a Royal indication.

*The Magen David sign has been found on an ancient synagogue in Israel dating 6th century.

*The Magen David has been found on a stone in a Peking synagogue dating 2,000 years ago.

*Samaritans believe that the 6- pointed star represents the ancient 6 cities of

refuge which appears in the Chumash.

*The Bar Kochba rebels had the star emblazoned on their shields for their leader named “son of a star”.

*In the year 1400, Jews in Prague had the symbol printed on their communal Flag as did Jews in Vienna in 1600.

*The symbol was approved at the Zionist Congress 1898.

The Kabbalistic and mystical aspect reminds us of a physical and spiritual world as well as our relationship with God and mankind. The Magen David is therefore prominent as a Jewish symbol all this time of its development and final acceptance by the Jewish Communities worldwide. This, together with the Torah, which has always been the major symbol of Judaism, does not need banners or flags to be remembered. Our continuation of or existence lies with our Torah, and this is by what we live.


A yellow star of David with the German word Jude was used by the Nazis during

the Holocaust to identify Jews during the 2 nd World War II.

8 A few more historical events worldwide 1904

*Marconi Company established “COD” as an international distress signal. This was finally replaced 2 years later by “SOS”.

*The United States acquired control of the Panama Canal Zone. Cost $10 Million.

*Great Britain and France established their Entente Cordiale – a technical treaty settling long standing disagreements over Morrocco, Egypt, Africa and the Pacific.

*New York City changes its name to New York Times Square in honor of the New York’s Time Magazine move there.

*Andrew Carnegie donated $1.5 Million to build his palace.

*After 13 years, the 4,607 mile Trans-Siberian Railway was vompleted.

*Dalai Lama signs treaty allowing British commerce in Tibet.

*First section f New York subway was completed. The Fare? A Nickel.


This is the most prominent year with its small beginnings for the Hebrew Order of David International. The outstanding development, far reaching and beneficial achievements to our communities, and the sense of deep chavershaft attained individually – all with words that do not exist to say as a simple but meaningful.

“Thank You” to each and every Brother for the involvement in the Jewish

Tradition of “V’ahavtah L’Reacha Kamocha” Love Your Neighbor as yourself by upholding the principles of Unity, Fraternity, Love and Peace.


1948 finally saw the long prayed for return to the ancient land of our forefathers, and with this re-establishment, the Magen David appears on the flag of Israel depicting a blue Magen David on the white background between two horizontal blue stripes was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the country’s establishment.. It is also known as the “Flag of Zion”. ‘Magen David Adom translated literally is Red Shield of David and is equivalent to the rest of the world’s Red Cross.


Written by Wor Bro. Chaim Segall

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software