I thought I was discovering links to Thelema, Freemasonry, etc. from Judaism that had never been really explored.
Silly bishop… T Allen Greenfield, your consecrating bishop, wrote the book on it in 2004…quite literally:
From that book:
Enlightened Despotism led to a liberalization of attitudes towards the much-beleaguered Jews of Europe, known in Hebrew as the Haskalah or enlightenment, notably in Germany, Austria, Poland and Russia. While this produced, on the one hand, a marked tendency among Jews towards assimilationism and by religious reform, the Haskala arrived in the middle of a mystical revolution that had been going on in Judaism behind the ghetto walls for a hundred years. This was a war between the messianic visions of Shabbati Tzvi and Nathan of Gaza, and later Jacob Franck and his daughter Eva; the ecstatic Qabalistic mysticism of Israel Baal Shem Tov and the first generation of Hassidism in the middle; with traditional Orthodox Judaism at one end of the spectrum, and early Reform Judaism at the other.
The Qabalistic mysticism, mostly understood (or misunderstood) from the interpretations of renegade Jewish converts, had long intrigued the world of gentile metaphysicians in much the same way that Eastern Mysticism would titillate later generations. TheHaskala, with its opening across the ghetto wall, produced eventually an odd synthesis of Speculative Freemasonic, Po- litical Revolutionary, Rosicrucian and alchemical ideas, gradually incorporat- ing Jewish Qabalism, as some Masonic bodies began to admit Jews, and Jews began to influence the fundamental ideas of Speculative Freemasonry. Orga- nizations such as The Knights of Light, the Fratres Lucis or Brothers of Light, and the Asiatic Brethren began to appear in “high degree” Freemasonry, even as Steven Morin introduced Scottish Rite Masonry to America. It is important to our thesis to understand that the European Masonic experience and that in America were quite different.
From its earliest origins, the Ethical Deism and egalitarian ideals of Free- masonry in America attracted and was influenced by Jewish Brethren. As Paul Bessel put it,
“Jews were actively involved in the beginnings of Freemasonry in America. There is evidence they were among those who established Masonry in 7 of the original 13 states: Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. A Jewish Mason, Moses Michael Hays, helped introduce the Scottish Rite in America. Hays was also Deputy Inspector General of Masonry for North America in 1768, and Grand Master of Massachusetts from 1788 to 1792. Paul Revere served under him as Deputy Grand Master. There were several other Jews who held the title of Deputy Inspector General of Masonry in the late 1700’s: Solomon Bush in Pennsylvania, Joseph Myers in Maryland and later in South Carolina, and Abraham Forst of Philadelphia in Virginia in 1781. Another Jewish Grand Master was Moses Seixas in Rhode Island from 1791 until 1800. There were many other American Jewish Masons in early American history, including one in George Washington’s original Fredericksburg Lodge.”
Herbert S. Goldberg, 33° put it this way:
“Jewish Masons played an important part in the American Revolution, with 24 of them serving as officers in George Washington’s army. In addition, several helped finance the American cause, including Haym Salomon, a Philadelphia Jewish Mason who, with others, contributed and raised money for the American war effort and loaned money to Jefferson, Madison, Lee, and others for their personal expenses. Salomon was imprisoned by the British and died in his 40’s bankrupt and with penniless heirs.”
“The Scottish Rite was founded on May 31, 1801… There were eleven gentlemen of Charleston who founded the Supreme Council. Four of these founders were Jewish and are buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Coming Street in Charleston. The four Jew- ish founders are Israel De Lieben, First S.G.I.G.; Emanuel De La Motta, First Grand Treasurer General; Abraham Alexander, Sr., First Grand Secretary General; and Moses Clava Levy, Treasurer General.”
So, read the book there if you’d like and also, if you’d like, send a donation to Bishop Greenfield if you liked his book.