Building Jewish Community Through Fraternity: Celebrating 100 Years of AEPi

August 7, 2013

  • Jewish Community

Adam Maslia currently serves as the Howard M. Lorber Director of Jewish and Philanthropy Programming for Alpha Epsilon Pi. In the coming year, Adam hopes to guide the department in completing the current Official Philanthropy Project, increasing initiative participation, hosting regional civic engagement conferences and implementing the First Annual B'nai B'rith Day of Service. Aaron Baskin is the Director of Civic Engagement working to help promote political activism across AEPi.  Aaron is looking forward to a great year traveling across the country promoting AEPi and encouraging all the chapters to increase their civic engagement.

Next week over 1,200 Jewish men will convene in New York City, and no, it’s not to watch a Mets game. These men are coming to celebrate 100 years of Alpha Epsilon Pi. AEPi, for short, is the International Jewish Fraternity and has become a major component of Jewish life on college campuses. Now reaching over 9,000 undergraduate brothers, we have truly become a home away from home for Jewish students. While many college students shy away from their Jewish roots and want to expand into different areas, AEPi provides a strong, dynamic connection between the young college male and their Jewish heritage.  

As part of our Centennial Celebration, this weekend brothers from across the globe will convene in New York City underneath the Washington Square Arch, the same place we were founded. This celebration will further cement the bond between each and every brother and demonstrate how AEPi has grown to be a global movement. AEPi has grown beyond the US and now includes 177 chapters spanning from the USA and Canada in North America, to Great Britain and France in Europe and finally to Israel. AEPi has been able to bring a uniquely American organization that is still stereotyped by the classic movie “Animal House” to these international campuses and allow Jewish men across the world to connect with each other. Since these schools have zero Greek life, students are joining AEPi because of the Jewish brotherhood and not solely for the appeals of the American Greek system. AEPi isn’t just Jewish in name, rather we structure our entire organization around this title. We realize that actions speak louder than words when it comes to being the Jewish fraternity. Through our initiatives such as “We Walk to Remember,” which allows AEPi brothers to interact with the student body and remind them to “Never Forget” the atrocities of the Holocaust,  or “Shabbat Across AEPi,” in which 112 chapters across the globe celebrate Shabbat on the same night, we are reaffirming that the brotherhood we create is not only on our individual college campus, but beyond.

AEPi has been fortunate enough, with the help of our partners such as the Schusterman Foundation, to create two original programs: Israel Amplified, which is a pro-Israel conference for Greek leaders of any background, and Hineni, a Jewish Leadership Conference designed specifically for AEPi brothers. Both programs have seen record attendance with 125 participants coming to Israel Amplified, and 72 brothers attending Hineni just this year. Through both of these programs, we show our commitment to advocate for Israel, to combat assimilation and to retain our ideals as a Jewish peoplehood. A pillar of all Greek life is philanthropy. AEPi fully embraces this tenent and we center our giving around our passions. We are now in our third year of a seven-year official philanthropy project. The project consists of donating $100,000 to seven charities over seven years. Each one of the charities is either Israeli or Jewish and AEPi is proud to say that we have already donated $350,000 and are on pace to accomplish our goal in four years instead of seven. This is a true testament to our undergraduates who have worked so hard to toward this achievement. As the pipeline from childhood to adult life, we know that we will continue to be the leading avenue for Jewish collegiate men to connect with and explore their Jewish identity in an inclusive and empowering environment. AEPi is a home away from home, one that has welcomed brothers for 100 years and will do so for 120 more,  עד מאה ועשרים שנה. 


The Schusterman Philanthropic Network is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.