M:.W:. Daniel M. Semel, J.A., is a Craftsman's Craftsman who blends his legal skills to the mortar he spreads for Freemasonry within our Grand Jurisdiction.
He is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University School of Law. He was raised in Shakespeare Lodge No.750 shortly before earning his law degree; then, he entered the U.S. Air Force.
After completing active military service, he began work as a trial lawyer for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and was appointed an officer of Shakespeare Lodge. He served as Master in 1969, 1991, and 1996-97. He was Founding Master of Allied Lodge No. 1170 in 1974-75. Then, he served as District Deputy Grand Master in 1976-77. A short time later, he was appointed to his present position as Judge Advocate of the Grand Lodge; no predecessor in the 20th Century served for even half his tenure. He continues to serve on the Advisory Board to the Board of Directors of the Sixth Masonic District Association of Manhattan.
While laboring in the quarries of Freemasonry, Brother Semel and his wife, Nell, raised two daughters, Deborah and Jennifer, and a son, Benjamin. They now enjoy five grandchildren.
He is a recognized expert in civil litigation. The New York Law Journal on two occasions has cited him as a leader of the defense bar. He served as Liberty Mutual's Attorney of Record for decades. He authored and designed some of the earliest training programs for trial lawyers in his capacity as the company's first Director of Attorney Training. After his 1992 retirement from Liberty Mutual to return to private law practice, he began service as an arbitrator and mediator in federal, state, and municipal courts; for the American Arbitration Association; and for the National Association of Securities Dealers. He has served on numerous committees of the American and New York State Bar Associations and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Outside the legal profession, he founded and directed his local civic association and served as an officer and director of his synagogue and numerous historical societies. As an avocation, Brother Semel is a student of early American industrial development and is an author and lecturer in this field.
At the Grand Annual Communication in 1988, M:.W:. Robert C. Singer appointed appoint R:.W :.Brother Semel as the first Chairman of the newest standing committee of Grand Lodge - the Committee on Unity, which seeks to expand relations between the Grand Lodge of New York and New York's Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge. He has served as the only Chairman of this Committee.
Two Grand Masters awarded Brother Semel the highest medals conferred on any Mason by the Grand Lodge: the M:.W:. Charles Henry Johnson Medal in 1988; and the Chancellor Robert Livingston Medal in 2001.
In 1993, it pleased M:.W:. Gary A. Henningsen to appoint Brother Semel to the post of Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Ireland Near the Grand Lodge of New York, which he held for eight years until this appointment. Brother Semel holds the rank of Past Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
Less than two months after each Grand Lodge extended mutual recognition in 2001, M:.W :.Carl J. Smith appointed Right Worshipful Brother Semel as the Grand Representative of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge near the Grand Lodge of New York.
In recognition of his stellar efforts and contributions towards the mutual recognition between our Grand Lodge and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York, he was made a Past Grand Master (Honoris Causa) by the latter grand body.
We congratulate Brother Semel on his achievements and look forward to continuing productive labors in his newest post.
Ceremonies of Presentation
R:.W:. Daniel M. Semel, J.A.
Grand Representative of the
Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
Near the Grand Lodge of New York
May 2, 2002, 7:30 O'clock
Renaissance Room - Masonic Hall
New York, New York
R:.W:. Herbert M. Groce, Jr.
Presentation of Colors
Masonic War Veterans
W:. Robert S. Byer
Presentation of Commission
M:.W:. Gary A. Henningsen, Grand Secretary
Past Grand Master
Honorary Member, Shakespeare Lodge
R:.W:. Harvey A. Eysman
W:. Stenrick B. Adams
Master, Allied Lodge No. 1170
R:.W:. Richard C. Friedman
Junior Grand Warden; Unity Committee
R:.W:. Sheldon B. Richman, Past Master
Grand Representative, Pernambucco (Brazil)
M:.W:. Solomon Wallace
Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of New York
near the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
Past Grand Master - Prince Hall
R:.W:. Daniel M. Semel
Grand Representative of the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
near the Grand Lodge of New York
Chairman, Unity Committee
M:.W:. Daniel W. Simmons
Grand Master, MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
R:.W:. Carl J. Fitje
Deputy Grand Master
M:.W:. Carl J.Smith
R:.W:. Herbert M. Groce, Jr.
Retirement of Colors
Masonic War Veterans
Retirement of Dignitaries
Under the escort of the Grand Marshal
Second Floor, Masonic Hall
The Master, W:. Robert S. Byer, opened the lodge, and received many delegations, including Allied Lodge No. 1170, Publicity Lodge No. 1000, the Grand Chaplain of New Jersey, various Grand Line officers from both New York and Prince Hall. Over 110 brothers filled Shakespeare Lodge. After presentation of the commission by M:.W:. Gary A. Hennigsen, various brothers from both Grand Lodges commented upon Dan and his Masonic work, upon the historic implications of the evening, and upon Masonry in general.
Of significance was a poem written by Brother Edwin R. Tait of Allied Lodge, dedicated to Dan, and read by it's Master, W Stenrick Adams.
by Brother Edwin R. Tait
We are all a part of Freemasonry,
Different in color as you may see.
We're no longer apart because of this.
Meetings exemplify fraternal bliss.
Now white Masons often sit with the Black.
Joint Black Grand Lodge socials are now a fact.
When lodge origins are reviewed and done
If found "regular," cannot all be one?
Disagreement rose from origin.
Prince Hall "regularity" is and has been.
A warrant, to be good,here in the States,
Bears English signatures and valid dates.
When each lodge comes from a competent source
Rejoicing doth reign with little remorse.
Love doth abound, respect for each other,
With hand to back and words like, "My Brother."
Dan responded with a compressed version of the history of the events bringing the two Grand Lodges to mutual recognition in 2001, giving credit to the work of Grand Masters who had worked long and hard. He finished by reciting from memory a poem by Brother Rudyard Kipling, My Mother Lodge, which celebrates the importance of diversity and harmony in Masonry.
M:.W:. Daniel W. Simmons, Grand Master of the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge, addressed the brothers and reminded them that they were all working in the NorthEast corner of the Lodge that night. "This is just the start." He received a standing ovation several times during his address.
M:.W:. Carl J. Smith made what might be his farewell address, as his term of office expires when the Grand Lodge meets in four days. He commented on the work of Masons in society, and the leadership roll which all Freemasons, both black and white, have for the future of our youth and our society.
As the Lodge closed, the Master invited all to a collation, where Shakespeare received its guests in the spirit of true brotherly love.