by Justyn Vellucci, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, July 4, 2022

Austin Shifrin is a past master of the Masonic Tyrian Lodge #644 and is heavily involved in eight other Masonic bodies. He is Jewish and a member of Tree of Life Congregation, one of the three congregations targeted during the October 27, 2018 massacre.

“Categorizing someone as beneath you is a slippery slope towards dehumanizing the other party,” he writes. Freemasonry is a fraternity of brothers who share one common goal: to help each other become better men. “The fraternity is neither a religion nor a place to worship,” according to Freemason literature. “Rather, it is a place where men of all monotheistic creeds can meet and focus on the great truths of peaceful human interaction”.

Freemasonry, which traces its roots to the 13th century, is not a conservative conspiracy, Shifrin said. There is no reason why a Jewish man cannot also be a Freemason, he said. The only bitter pill for a Jew might be he sometimes has a meeting or an event on Shabbat. So, if Jewish people are the minority in America, they’d also tend to be minorities in a Masonic lodge.