Volume LVAugust 2008Number 3

Taking What Life Gives You & Giving Back

Left-right: Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary, Bro. Jeff Marder, Bro. Herb Marder and Andrew A. Zellers-Frederick, Executive Director of the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

About 45 years ago, Bro. Herb Marder's best friend told him what a good time he had at his Masonic lodge meetings and wondered why Herb never asked him to join. Twenty questions later, Herb asked him about joining, and he has been a member of Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, Philadelphia, ever since. He is also a Past Master.

"I've met many lifelong friends, and I brought my son and my father into the brotherhood," he said. "I've visited lodges around the world - Israel, Bahamas - some don't get a lot of visitors, but they are all happy to see you. They roll out the red carpet."

The most impressive Grand Lodge? "Nothing compares to Philadelphia's. Not even close," he said. "It really is a landmark. Every time I attend a lodge meeting, I'm in awe. In every room, I pick up on things I never saw before. Everybody who sees it is impressed."

The appreciation Bro. Herb and his son, Bro. Jeff Marder, have for the Masonic Temple and the fraternity as a whole, inspired them to give a gift toward the continuation of the Grand Lodge, as a structure and an institution. They made the gift in memory of Bro. Herb's parents, Bro. Albert and Ida Marder, and in May, a plaque was placed at the entrance to Egyptian Hall in the Temple.

Their gift also provided for the Bleiler Caring Cottage, a residence for eight adults with mild to moderate developmental challenges, located at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. The residents of the cottage are provided with daily social programs and support services which enable them to enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle. "It's the perfect vehicle for providing quality care to those who need it," Bro. Herb said.

Their decision to give was simple: "Life has been good, and I don't require as much income now for myself, so it is better that someone who needs assistance should get benefit out of my savings," Bro. Herb said. "I had great parents who were the same way. There are too many good things to help with in this world to take your money to your grave. I don't even want to have enough to pay the undertaker," he quipped.

Bro. Herb's parents have been the biggest influence on his life. His father, Bro. Albert, one of 13 siblings, immigrated from Russia. He had a sixth grade education and went on to work in a knitting mill along with Bro. Herb's mother, Ida. Anything they had, they earned on their own, according to Bro. Herb. His father was equally devoted to the Freemasons, never missing a meeting in his 20-year membership.

It was after discovering Mozart was a Freemason that Bro. Jeff became interested in the fraternity. He has dual memberships in Pennsylvania and California lodges. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he works as the associate conductor for the Los Angeles production of "Wicked," the musical, in addition to his work as a synthesizer programmer for Broadway shows and as a composer for film and television. His career, which he found a penchant for at age 12 when he made his piano concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, involves extensive traveling. He always finds himself at home in out-of-state lodges and meets very interesting people. Bro. Jeff especially enjoys being active as the organist for the Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge No. 307.

Bro. Herb worked for years as a traveling salesman, but now works part-time, so he can concentrate on his passion for traveling the open water on his sail boat. He also enjoys making waves on his amateur, or HAM radio, especially while sailing; riding his motorcycle across the county; and focusing on his 55-year interest in photography. He has no time, however, for complaining about the little things in life.

"Take what life gives you," Bro. Herb said. "Don't waste your time being a sourpuss."


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In 1820, Philadelphia artist William Rush was commissioned by the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania to create three sculptures for the re-dedication of the Masonic Hall at 715-719 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Although this Hall is no longer standing, Charity, along with Faith and Hope, now graces the halls of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. Carved from wood, each sculpture resembles marble in its intricate details, from the cherubic faces of the children to the many drapes and folds of the fabric. This miniature was commissioned exclusively for the Masonic Library & Museum Gift Shop in 2008, and may be the first in a series.
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One N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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