The Alpha Epsilon Pi charter banquet in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi chartered its chapter at the Hebrew University over the weekend in a celebration that took on extra meaning following last week’s passage of United Nations Resolution 2334.
AEPi has decided to expand its operations in Israel in order to underscore the importance of American Jewish college students backing the Jewish state.
AEPi managing director Jay Feldman said last Wednesday’s speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry in which he called for dividing Jerusalem, made holding an event in the capital more special.
“The fraternity decided to go to Israel due to its commitment to the Jewish state,” said Feldman.
“We wanted to have the international Jewish fraternity in the Jewish homeland. The chartering ceremony took place at a unique moment in history as the international community is questioning Israel’s right to its eternal capital, Jerusalem. That made celebrating this historic moment in AEPi’s history have extra meaning.”
Executive Director Andrew Borans explained to the audience that AEPi brothers Eddie Jacobson and Sam Rothberg each played notable roles in establishing the state of Israel. "These are the type of leaders our fraternity develops for the Jewish community."
The Hebrew University chapter is made up primarily of students who are native Israeli after a previous effort to form the fraternity with American students studying abroad was less successful. The meetings are conducted in Hebrew.
The fraternity also has chapters at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and colonies at Tel Aviv University and at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
A New Year’s Party was held Saturday night in Tel Aviv.
Feldman said since the founding of AEPi at New York University in 1913, it has been strongly Zionist. He said he is proud that its brothers are leading pro-Israel efforts on campuses around the world. He added that "when Israel is under attack, our members feel a deeper connection because they have Israeli brothers serving in the IDF."
The fraternity has chapters on 190 college campuses in eight countries and has more than 90,000 living alumni. It recently opened chapters in the United Kingdom, France and Austria.