Ajalon Lodge

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Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Ajalon Lodge

Parallel form(s) of name

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Other form(s) of name

  • Ajalon Club of Young Judaea

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1929-

History

The Ajalon Lodge was first organized on 10 March 1929 as the Ajalon Club of Young Judaea. The founding members were Abe Bohnen, Hyman Cohen, Isaac Gringorten, George (Hamell) Himmelstein and Lou Hochman. The group met at the Zionist Institute at 206 Beverley Street in Toronto. The name was selected by Abe Bohnen and Mark Zimmerman, the Young Judaea supervisor, from a map of Palestine which hung in the Young Judaea library.

The first leader of the club was Morris Kertzer followed by Al Zimmerman. In 1930 the lodge began to record its activities in scrapbooks, which it later named the Ajalon Archives. The archivists over the years included Max Schwadron, Ben Marks, Myer Bromberg and Willie Zimmerman.

The club was actively involved in Young Judaea literary, social and fundraising activities. In 1935, the club graduated from the Young Judaea movement and become a lodge of the Zionist Order Habonim. By 1939 however, the Ajalon, Balfour, Bialik and Jaffa lodges merged into the Toronto Habonim Lodge due the waning membership as many men went off to war. After the war, the four lodges returned to their original state. In 1940, the lodge acquired club rooms on the third floor of the Zionist Building and in 1944 several wives of lodge members organized the Ajalon Ladies Auxiliary. By 1953, Habonim became the Zionist Men’s Association of Canada, an affiliate organization of the Zionist Organization of Canada and by the 1960s, Ajalon Lodge became directly affiliated with ZOC. Over the course of its existence membership in the lodge has been between 40 and 90 members.

Ajalon Lodge participated in many fundraising campaigns for Jewish organizations in Toronto, such as the Jewish National Fund and the United Palestine Appeal. Many of its members also served on the Board of Directors for organizations such as the Toronto Zionist Council and Young Judaea. The lodge was involved in several fundraising initiatives, including the establishment of a kindergarten in Ashkelon, Israel in 1972. In later years the Ajalon Lodge was affiliated with the Zionist Organization of Canada.

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