Diveristy in Friendship
by Antone R.E. Pierucci
“The beauty of San Francisco is that even though it’s a big city, the circles are really tight,” begins Aziz Yousef. As owner of Moonlight Café in Bernal Heights, that fact was never more evident to Yousef than when he petitioned to join California Lodge No. 1. “Going to lodge events, I realized that three or four of the guys there were already customers of mine.” Since then, he’s experienced similar happy moments of connection within his lodge and, most importantly, in his community.
California Freemason: How did you first get involved with Freemasonry?
Aziz Yousef: One of my friends and customers, Rich Modolo, was talking to me about charitable events the Masons do, especially Masons4Mitts. I’m a big Giants fan, so I offered to help cater one of the Masons4Mitts events they were doing, at the Lumiere Building, and he ended up taking me to a couple of Giants games. It went from there. Last year, we ended up doing the event outside, on the Embarcadero.
CFM: What was it about Masons4Mitts that made you want to get involved?
AY: Masons4Mitts is a way to give back. Owning a small business, I like to help out as much as possible, but I can’t compete with some big corporation. We always donate to the local school and the church here in Bernal Heights. We’re fortunate in this neighborhood that there’s still a sense of community and giving back.
CFM: I understand you’re from Jordan. Is there much history of Freemasonry there?
AY: I was born in Jordan but moved to the U.S. when I was three or four months old. There are definitely Masons there. The father of the cur- rent king, Abdullah II, was a Mason. But as far as I know, I’m the first person in my family to be a Mason. Something I’d like to do as I progress in Masonry is visit lodges around the world.
CFM: What kind of food do you specialize in?
AY: It’s breakfast and lunch with a Middle Eastern twist, so lots of falafel and hummus. We have a number of crepes, but we’ve also introduced some Mediterranean food that’s gotten popular, like our babaganoush.
CFM: What have your impressions been of your lodge, California No. 1?
AY: I love the diversity of our lodge. There are quite a few Arabic guys—they remind me of my uncles and cousins. It makes me feel like I’m talking to my own family.