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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes March 2015 

Where is Joppa?

As Freemasons, we hear of this city, as a destination by three villains, but we are never told where Joppa is, only that it is a "seaport" town, which from context, must be relatively near Jerusalem.

We read that "The gate of Joppa" is noted in the Tell el-Amarna Letters as guarded by an Egyptian officer in the service of the Pharoah Amenhotep IV. Relative to the Temple of Solomon, Jonathas, the Chronicler, reports that the cedars of Lebanon were brought in on floats, where they were transported to Jerusalem by the workmen of the King of Tyre.

Joppa, today called Yaffa (Jafa), is a suburb of Tel Aviv, 32.8 miles from Jerusalem. It is written that the pillars of the Temple could be seen from Tel Aviv, due to the Temple Mount raising the structure above the line of sight of the hills between there and the coast. Modern Yafa is built on a rocky mound, 116 feet high, at the edge of the sea.

A reef of rocks runs parallel to the shore a short distance out and affords a certain amount of protection from weather and the sea. There is a gap in the reef through which the boats pass, though during a storm the passage is dangerous even today. On one of these rocks, Perseus is said to have rescued the chained Andromeda from the dragon.

Yafa is a prosperous town, profiting much by the annual streams of pilgrims who pass through it on their way to visit the holy places. Trade passes through the port to this day, with ships arriving from Egypt, Syria and Constantinople.

(From Lance Rommerdahl's online "The Old Past Master," and quoting the late Brother Theron Dunn.)

Recommended Reading In Nebraska

Since 2000, the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee has been producing an annual "Recommended Reading List," with three to five suggested Masonic books.  The 2015 list was distributed in February at the yearly Education Breakfast during the Grand Lodge Annual Communication.

This year's recommended books are: Making Light; A Handbook for Freemasons, by Julian Rees; The Initiatic Experience, by Robert Herd, and Masonry and Its Symbols, by H.W. Percival.

The four Disciples? 

Who are the four best-known disciples?  Maybe Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

At a recent communication of Friendship Tuscan Lodge in Manchester, Connecticut, four Brothers were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.  Ironically, their names were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

(From the "Fraternal Review" of the Southern California Research Lodge, excerpted originally from "CT Freemason," of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, October, 2014.)

More New Reading Opportunities

Two newly published books by Masonic authors show potential as upcoming best sellers for Masons:

  • Cathedrals Built by the Masons, by Russell Herner.  Through well-researched text, as well as some 250 photos and drawings, this book captures the magnificence of European cathedrals and the brilliance of the craftsmen who designed and built them.  It also describes the development of Freemasonry.   Brother Herner is also author of Stonehenge: An Ancient Masonic Temple.  See "new releases" – at -- the publisher's website.
  • The Craft Driven Lodge, by Dan Hrinko.  This book examines the principles and process used during the formation of Arts & Sciences Lodge in the Grand Lodge of Ohio.  It provides excellent ideas about how a Lodge can evolve, with more exciting Masonic experiences during meetings and other activities.  See -Craft-Driven-Lodge-P9398.aspx for more information.

Texas Proclamation Enhances Education

Michael L. Wiggins, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, shortly after his installation in December, 2014, issued a proclamation that all Texas Lodges, at stated meetings at least once a month, would present a Masonic education program furnished by the 2015 Grand Master's Resource Team.

"It is the fundamental duty of Freemasonry to teach the meaning and mission of the symbolism, allegories, philosophy, morality, history, and traditions of Freemasonry to its members, the Grand Master wrote. "Furthermore, it is incumbent upon each Freemason to engage in a life-long quest to improve his understanding of the nature and purpose of God and the Universe."

California Conference on 'Secrets'

The 4th International Conference on Freemasonry at UCLA, sponsored by the Grand Lodge of California and the UCLA History Department, will be held on March 21.

This year conference title is, "Secrets Revealed: Freemasonry and the Conspiracy Theories it Evokes."

Interested persons can attend or view as a live web cast.  Details about the event, including presenters and registration, are available at

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