The order of the Knights of Pythias
Benjamin N. Cardozo Lodge #163/157
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
MEETINGS AT THE FAIR LAWN SENIOR CENTER
History of Lodge 163
HISTORY OF CARDOZO LODGE NUMBER 163/157
By Al Zuckerman
Benjamin N. Cardozo Lodge became a reality on a snow swept Sunday at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center on January 28, 1951. Joseph Freilich was our first Chancellor Commander and is now residing in Florida. After much discussion, the Lodge was named in honor of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo who was the first Jewish Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and very active in Jewish community affairs. The first edition of our newspaper, Cardozo Speaks, cost us the magnificent sum of $8. The deluxe refreshments for our installation meeting cost 75 cents per person with Sid Reisman on the committee. Mickey Lichenstein chaired our first social event, a dance which cost $162 in total. Cardozo’s first annual budget was $952, and our charity donations amounted to $30.
In the years that followed it’s birth, Cardozo Lodge did not escape the usual ‘growing pains’ so common to a young, inexperienced organization. But, under the inspired and zealous leadership of its elected officers, the lodge overcame these ‘pains’ at quite an early age. By the middle 50’s, the lodge was developing into a closely working and efficient group, seeking to elevate its members in their ways of life and their social and fraternal contacts.
The establishment of the Cardozo Benevolent Association came about in 1954. Many of our members bought and paid for cemetery plots in order that the CBA would have the financial means to pay our installment plan obligations of benevolent and fraternal principles, the CBA stands today as a leader among all benevolent groups throughout the state – unmatched in its many programs and the benefits for the brothers and their loved ones.
Cardozo charitable endeavors started with an annual pre-season visitation to Camp Marcella for blind Children. We prepared for the camp’s opening by cleaning the grounds, painting the buildings, docks and tables, and preparing the equipment. Later years, we also prepared the Camp for Brain Injured Children as well as 'Camp Rainbow for Special Needs Children'. We sponsored one of the first All Sports Little League Teams in town. Cardozo financed bus outings and attendance at big league baseball games for area orphans. We gave two scholarships to FLHS students in honor of two deceased sons of our brothers, Randy Radelman and Richard Polsky. The Fair Lawn Mental Health Center received a $2,000 donation to create a special senior citizens area, and at regular intervals, our membership painted and spruced up this area. Our goal for yearly donations to Deborah Hospital was $1 per member, per year.
Participation in the New Jersey Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias Public Speaking Contest for high school students is always a rewarding experience for the lodge which sponsors the local candidate. Lodge representation has always been noteworthy at local events, such as the Memorial Day Parade and active participation in the anti-litter and safety driving and poster campaigns.
The social aspect of Cardozo Lodge over the years has been a growing expression of the warn inter-relations that have been established by the members and their families out side of the lodge’s business purposes. The innumerable functions and affairs by the lodge and its always hard working committees have usually been the successes they were intended to be and credit must be given to the underlying and unique spirit of friendship that permeates the fraternal atmosphere of the lodge and the many inspiring efforts contributed by the Pythian Sisters.
In recent years, a special ‘happening’ has taken place within the framework of Cardozo Lodge in the form of unique blending of the talents of new, young members to go along with the knowledge, know-how, and experience of the ‘older statesmen’ of the lodge which has produced startling results and the elevation of progress for the lodge that should be both admired and emulated by other subordinate lodges throughout the state.
At the end of our 25th year, our charity donations reached a total of $50,000, and our membership was the 3rd largest in the state.
Fourteen years ago our charity picture changed drastically. We started our Annual Circus which has earned $220,000 since its inception, all going to charity. Our Deborah Tag Days and raffles enabled us to make hefty donations and recently, the efforts of Dave Englander and our membership took us to the top of our state with our donations to Newark Beth Israel Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis. We still sponsor our little league baseball team. FL All Sports recently honored Cardozo for 35 years of consecutive participation.
We sponsor regular dances with entertainment and meals
for the handicapped, many holiday parties for various special needs groups,
individually funded scholarships and regular donations to many worthy local
and national organizations. The Fair Lawn Mental Health Center has honored us
twice in recent years for our community activities. Thousands and thousands
of free tickets are supplied for our Circus annually. While missing records
do not allow us to come up with exact figures, a very educated projection
shows that Cardozo Lodge has now donated $400,000 to various charities as well
as $250,000 in free circus tickets and many thousands of hours of volunteer
Socially, we have our Spring Dance, Officers’ Cotillion, Picnic, Theatre parties, ballgames and other events. Also open meetings, roasts, membership dinners, plus other assorted individual and Grand Lodge events. Many are subsidized by the Lodge.
Cardozo Lodge is truly a story of dedication, hard work and great success in the name of Friendship, Charity and Benevolence. While we now have the largest membership and are the most active Pythian Lodge in the state, with your cooperation, we look forward to even bigger and better accomplishments.
In 2008, Feigan Lodge merged with Cardozo to become Lodge #163/157 and is currently the largest lodge in New Jersey. And in 2016, Sanford Schor Lodge was consolidated in to Cardozo Lodge
With 2017 being an exciting year ahead, we will offer Friendship, Charity and Benevolence to all.
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