Liverpool Masonic Hall’s Corinthian Suite was filled with anticipation for the celebration of 50 years’ service to Lodge of Israel No 1502 and Freemasonry in general by Leonard (Lenny) Rubins. The lodge was opened in due form by the WM Paul Rattigan, ably assisted by his wardens Ian Thompson and Ian Niven. The director of ceremonies Steve Kayne then escorted Colin Higginson, WM of King David No 7256 into the room accompanied by a deputation from that lodge. With the opening business duly completed the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton was admitted to announce that the principal guest for the evening, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Dimelow was outside with an accompanying entourage and demanded admission.
Led in by the lodge Provincial deacon’s Colin Wood and Stan Blake, Mark was on this occasion was accompanied by Bob Povall Liverpool Group Chairman, with grand officers Barry Elman, David Hawkes and Sam Robinson. On entering the room Mark and the entire entourage received a very warm welcome, with Mark graciously accepting the gavel from WM Paul Rattigan and occupied the WM’s chair. Mark then requested that Lenny be placed before him, thus setting the scene for a very fascinating and enlightening reflection on Lenny’s domestic, professional and Masonic life.
Born in 1934 to a Liverpudlian father and a Russian born mother, Lenny was brought up in Liverpool along with his two sisters. His early education took place at the Hebrew School in Hope Place (now in use as the ‘Unity Theatre’), and later at Liverpool Collegiate in Shaw Street. On leaving school he became an accounts clerk for Freemans, then situated on Wavertree Road, before having to answer the call in 1953, like many of his generation, for National Service. Lenny was embodied as a clerk into the Royal Army Medical Corps with initial training at Aldershot before being posted to Blandford, Dorset, then later to Norton Manor outside Taunton.
On demobilisation, he returned to Freemans but had by this time developed a modicum of wanderlust, so after 18 months became an agent, not tied to a desk anymore. After a chance conversation with a chap from the Royal London Insurance, Lenny decided there were more opportunities to be had in that field and seized the moment to buy an insurance book with the said company. This led to promotion within four years as an inspector, and the selling of ‘his book’, which had greatly increased in value. From inspector, a further promotion to area manager after four years Lenny now had 24 agents under his control, earning commission from each. The last years of his career where spent in St Helens before retirement in 1993.
Returning to an earlier era of Lenny’s life Mark spoke on the importance that Harold House had played, which had been set up in 1936 as the headquarters of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade and evolved into a Jewish youth and community centre. It was here that Lenny met his future wife Shirley, getting married at Greenbank Synagogue in 1961, flying to Jersey on honeymoon in an old turbo-prop airplane. This obviously led to a love of flying and overseas holidays, including a number of trips to America. Although in one unfortunate episode Lenny had deep vein thrombosis, thankfully with no long-term consequences. This happy marriage of Lenny and Shirley also resulted in the birth of three daughters, of which they are both very proud. All have successful careers, two as ‘tax consultants’ and the other as a ‘quantity surveyor’, and each daughter having two children, making six grandchildren in all.
Lenny was initiated into Freemasonry within Lodge of Israel, being proposed and seconded by two of his brother-in-laws on 13 March 1967, reaching the chair of King Solomon in 1980. At this period, the lodge membership stood at 170 brethren and Lenny carried out ceremonies in all three degrees. He and Shirley held a very successful Ladies Night at Childwall Synagogue, again with well over 170 in attendance. Returning to the master’s chair in 1992, the year previous having seen him appointed as Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. Promotion followed in 1998 as a Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works, and 10 years later to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. Lenny’s devotion to his lodge is well known, besides serving twice as master, he has been the secretary twice, 1996 until 1999 and again 2001 to 2012, and almoner from 2012 to 2014. In Royal Arch Masonry Lenny was exalted into Downshire Chapter 594 in 1972, and later had two periods of membership within Menorah Chapter No 4513, which very sadly is now closed.
Mark then continued by adding that throughout his 50 years of membership of Lodge of Israel, Lenny has proved himself to be a man of great integrity, commitment and dignity and that he was sure that everyone here on this special occasion wished Lenny and Shirley the very best of good health and happiness for the forthcoming years.
Mark then asked group chairman Bob Povall to read the commemorative certificate which the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison had caused to be issued. On receiving his certificate Lenny said: “It is a great pleasure to be here this evening and to have so many friends in attendance.” In conclusion, he remarked that it had been ‘a very happy journey’.
Speaking directly to Lenny, Mark said: “Brother Lenny, may I conclude the proceedings here in the lodge room this evening by offering you my warmest personal congratulations on achieving this wonderful milestone in your Masonic career. I know that both you and Shirley have had a number of health problems and I wish you both the very best for many years to come. You should know that I consider it both a privilege and a pleasure to be here this evening and to have been able to take part in such a happy and rewarding evening.”
Lenny thanked Mark and the brethren present for all the effort that had been put in by everyone to make this a momentous evening to remember. He then presented a personal cheque from himself to be used for Masonic charity.
The gavel was then returned to Paul Rattigan to conclude the business of the lodge before retirement to the festive board where the brethren present did partake of an excellent meal, fitting such a glorious occasion.