R. W. Brother Paul Mordecai Katriel z"l

Time marches on and waits for no-one.
I had the privilege in the past few years of getting close to our dear departed Right Worshipful Brother who has just passed into the Eternal East . Though I knew Paul not in his prime but in his final years I would like to share a few words with you about him.

I was initiated into Freemasonry in King Solomon Lodge #48 at a time that unbeknownst to me my lodge was in crisis. When the time came, after having been helped by another brother to prepare to write a lecture and be passed to the Fellow Craft degree I needed guidance to assist me to prepare my lecture for my Master Mason degree and my Brothers in King Solomon Lodge who were busy with other problems of the Lodge made the unorthodox suggestion that I turn to a brother who was not a Brother of the lodge but to a true freemason – Paul Katriel. Paul was well known to them as having helped brothers from far and near in many matters. I am in their debt that they hooked me up with him as I was apparently the last brother who was able to receive his masonic help as his condition began to deteriorate just after the help I received from him.
After this I had the privilege of accompanying Paul on all his visits to the various Lodges that he belonged to taking over from other brothers from Mt Carmel who had been helping him to get to the lodge up until then as we lived very close to each other.
Paul Mordecai Katriel was born in October 2 1929 in Czechoslovakia and came to Israel at age 5.
1947 Graduated from the Nautical School, Marine Engineering .
1948-1953 Sailed as Marine Engineer Officer up to the rank of Ch. Engineer on Zim Israel Navigation co. ships.
1953-1957 He Graduated as B.Sc. and completed as Ingenieur (with Honors 1959)in the Technion (Israel Technological Institute), in Mechanical Engineering - Heat and Power.
1957-1989 He was employed by 'Zim Israel Navigation Co' as Marine Superintendent Repairs and Maintenance .Participating in Solutions of problems Related To Power generation, Thermodynamics and Heat transfer. Subsequently Head of Engineering Department in Zim Shipbuilding Division, He participated in Design, Construction supervision and Testing of New ships for Zim fleet. In the last 3 years he was employed in Research and Development of the latest Series of large container ships.
Since 1989 He was at the Marine Training Institute in Akko as Head of Engineering Department, Ex Officio he was also a Member of the 'Technical committee' of the Israel Ministry of Transport 'Shipping and Ports Office'. Subsequently he was appointed as Senior Lecturer in 'Technion', Department of Mechanical Engineering. Teaching graduating students, subjects of Marine Engineering.
Since 1995 he acted as Advisor to the Dead Sea Works Power station at Sdom and was employed by Lloyd's Register co. of London as their consultant for the Industry and Power Stations in Israel.
In April 2000 he was appointed by the Council of the Institute of Marine Engineers of London as their Corresponding Member In Israel.
He also acted as a Member of the Technical Committee of Israel Ministry of Transport , ( IMOT) Shipping and Ports Authority and examiner of Engineer Officer at Certification Examination .
In September 1954 after the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt without a flinch he volunteered to sail thru the Suez Canal on the "Bat Galim" on a virtual suicide mission knowing with almost certainty that he and his shipmates would be caught and imprisoned by the Egyptian. As they all suspected, the vessel was detained by the Egyptians and he was jailed, tortured for a number of months and in the end he was released with his shipmates as part of a prisoner exchange in January 1955 and returned to work as if nothing had happened. On our travels to the lodge he would tell me of the interviews that he had gone thru, throughout the years by researchers that tried to understand how he passed thru without any outward visible sign of effect of imprisonment and torture on him. He would tell me that he supposed that they were right that it affected him but he had too many important things throughout the years to do to be bothered with their research, though in the last years he started to wonder if it they had not been wrong.
As far as I could tell the only outward sign I could imagine came from those days was his extremely firm almost crushing handshake. Even in his last days one could see him attempting to keep his identity and fighting on.
He has a Son Bro. Ron Katriel who was initiated in the Lodge and was always proud of this and a Daughter Leora whom he also spoke with pride. Paul was married twice though I never met Edith who died 26 years ago I only got to know Geula who was so important to him.
He spoke English, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, German and Hungarian.
He was initiated in freemasonry on 27th of September 1966. He used to tell the story of how he came to freemasonry. He had always known about Masonry and when he first had the opportunity when a Ship Captain asked for his help in delaying the checking of his ship so he could attend his own installation as Worshipful master of Mount Carmel lodge. In return for Paul's aid he spoke of his help extorting an invitation to be initiated into the craft. This was something that the Captain readily and happily did as he knew Paul and knew that this would be not only good for Paul but also for the craft. That was Very Worshipful Brother Eric J. Edgar who made good on his promise that year.
He was passed on 25th June 1968 and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on the 5th of December 1968.
He held all the various offices in Mount Carmel Lodge and was the 24th Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1980. As Worshipful master Paul was always proud of the community involvement of the Lodge in his term of office. First of all there was a sizable contribution to Brothers in need. Second of all, the Lodge helped to give blankets and heating appliances to 40 families in the Wadi. In addition the Lodge helped a school and institution of retarded children in Kiryat Tivon and helped provide charity for the needy and shoes for children in schools in Bet Shean.
In addition he was a founding member of Eli Weiss Lodge of Worshipful Masters # 80 and Montefiore Lodge of Worshipful Masters #78 and, La Esperanza Lodge #72 (and also served as Deputy Master(V.M. Adjunto) in 1989 as well as other offices in the lodge.
In the Royal Arch rite he was a founding member of Judea Chapter #4 in 2004.
Paul was one of the founders of Haifa Masonic Lodge Association and a signature on the founding constitution.
In 1986 he was the Haifa Area #A Warden for the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel.
In the Scottish Rite from 1983-97 he attained all degrees from 4th to 32nd Degree and then he decided that he did not need the honors to go for the 33rd degree that was offered to him.
He was the Thrice Potent Master in 2000 in Galil Lodge #3 and in addition to being a Founding member of Salem Lodge of Perfection # 12 he was also the Thrice Potent Master in 2004-05.
In the Royal Arch as a member of Mt. Carmel Chapter # 6 he attained all Degrees of the rite from 1975-1983 and was 3rd Principal in 1988-89, 2nd Principle in 1989-90 and 1st Principle in 1990-91 in Mount Carmel Chapter.
In 1991, 1992 and 2005 he was Grand Chaplain in the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel. In 2002 he was the Grand Superintendent of Works.
In 2001 became the representative of the Grand Lodge of the State of Indiana to the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel.
From 1980–2006 he represented the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel in visits to Holland, Germany, England, New York, and Australia.

Despite having seen his deterioration in the past few years we are all shocked and dismayed that he has passed on. But I will always have my recollection of him entering and leaving my car each time the look between us, the handshake and the unspoken understanding- this lesson will remain with me.
He would always tell me how pleased he was to be helped by another true Brother as he would say that - We both understood that as Brothers he would never need to thank me as he never needed to be thanked by the Brothers he had helped throughout the years because as Brothers each of knew that this was our duty and the essence of the craft.
The lesson that I learned from Paul was that -True qualities that we had learned in Freemasonry needed no thanks between brothers as they were our basis of the Freemasonry in the past and in the future.
Even when I visited him and he could not exactly remember who I was and why the bond was there we both knew it was and would always remain to the end. Even in silence we felt it.
I learned from him and will always remember that "the investment you put into Freemasonry is the investment you will receive later."

Brother Shlomo Yaakov Rapaport March 27, 2011.

For more research on the adventure of the Bat Galim click here: