Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΑΕΠ or AEPi) is college fraternity founded at New York University in 1913. The fraternity has more than 166 active chapters across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Israel and has initiated more than 102,000 members. Although the fraternity is based upon Jewish principles, it is non-discriminatory and is open to all who are willing to espouse its purpose and values.
Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Global Jewish Fraternity, was founded to provide opportunities for Jewish men seeking the best possible college and fraternity experience. We have maintained the integrity of our purpose by strengthening our ties to the Jewish community and serving as a link between high school and career. Alpha Epsilon Pi develops leadership for the North American Jewish community at a critical time in a young man’s life. Alpha Epsilon Pi’s role is to encourage the Jewish student to remain dedicated to Jewish ideals, values, and ethics and to prepare the student to be one of tomorrow’s leaders so that he may help himself, his family, his community, and his people.
Alpha Epsilon Pi was founded in 1913 under the Washington Square Arch at New York University (NYU) by Charles C. Moskowitz and 10 other Jewish men: David K. Schafer, Isador M. Glazer, Herman L. Kraus, Arthur E. Leopold, Benjamin M. Meyer, Arthur M. Lipkint, Charles J. Pintel, Maurice Plager, Hyman Shulman, and Emil J. Lustgarten. These men are known as the “Immortal 11.” Their first pledge was Samuel L. Epstein.
Charles C. Moskowitz had just transferred to New York University’s School of Commerce from the City College of New York. Several fraternities at the School of Commerce expressed interest in him and one gave him a bid. The name of that fraternity is unknown. When Charles asked if his close Jewish friends could join as well, he was told that the invitation was for him alone. At this point, the group of 11 men began meeting regularly in a German rathskeller called “Haan’s Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Restaurant, Cafe and Rathskeller”. Official school recognition of AEPi was granted on November 7.
The founding members always intended for AEPi to be a national fraternity. Long before the second chapter, the NYU group was designated “Alpha Chapter.” In 1917, the local fraternity Phi Tau at Cornell University became the Beta Chapter of AEPi.
Counting the Beta Chapter only fifty-two men had been initiated by April 6, 1917, the date the United States formally declared war on Germany and her allies. Almost every undergraduate and alumnus answered the call of the colors causing the fraternity to become nearly inactive during the war years.
In the years between the world wars, Alpha Epsilon Pi had grown to twenty-eight chapters. But tough times were known to be forthcoming at the 1941 convention, and many knew that undergraduate and alumnus would again be called to duty. Expansion remained dormant throughout World War II.
With the end of the war and the shift of national headquarters to St. Louis, Alpha Epsilon Pi had gained new life and momentum in its reopening of inactive chapters, expansion to new campuses, and the merging with other locals that had been hit hard by the war. In 1940, Sigma Omega Psi joined Alpha Epsilon Pi adding three chapters, as did Sigma Tau Phi in 1947.
The next two decades were a time of steady growth and prestige for Alpha Epsilon Pi, as well as other fraternities. Expansion was occurring at an incredible rate for the Greek system as a whole. However, with the onset of fighting in Vietnam in the early 1960s, fraternity life faltered. Liberal student bodies revolted against authority and the Greek system, which was seen as a conservative, elitist group.
Ironically, the roots of fraternity itself lie in revolution against authoritarianism. Membership plummeted and nearly half the chapter roll was lost. It almost looked as if it might have been the end for Alpha Epsilon Pi. However, due to Alpha Epsilon Pi’s perseverance, the fraternity was able to reverse the trend and stabilize following the Vietnam War.
Reidentifying with its Jewish heritage, the men of Alpha Epsilon Pi refused to say die. Possessed with faith and courage, they were determined that national strength could be regained, and that the fraternity would once again be able to pursue its mission of shaping young Jewish men into community leaders.
In 2009, AEPi became the first fraternity to establish a chapter in Israel at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
In 2014, AEPi was the first college student organization to be admitted as a full member to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
— Read More History on Alpha Epsilon Pi on Wikipedia
Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΑΕΠ)
- Founded On: November 7th, 1913 – New York University
- Type: Social Fraternity
- Colors: Gold and Blue
- Flower: Fleur-de-lis
- Nicknames: AEPi
- Chapters: 155 Chapters
- Website: www.aepi.org
- Motto: No one could tell me where my soul might be; I searched for God, but He eluded me; I sought my brother out and found all three. — Poet Howard Crosby