In 1913, when Charles Moskowitz enrolled at the New York University School of Commerce, his reputation as an excellent basketball player preceded him. He was immediately approached and offered a bid to join one of the fraternities, however, when Moskowitz inquired if his other Jewish friends would be permitted to join as well, he was informed that the invitation was only for him. Not satisfied with that response, he as well as his friends, began meeting in a German rathskeller near the university and discussing the possibility of forming a new fraternal organization, one in which they would all be welcome. Eventually their small circle grew to eleven young men, and upon official recognition from the university on November 7, 1913, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) was born.
Since its beginning nearly 100 years ago, AEPi has grown to become an international brotherhood, including over 9,000 undergraduate members and 155 active chapters across the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Israel. The founding members of AEPi knew the value of hard work and determination, many of them working during the day and attending classes in the evenings, so it is no surprise that their values have inspired countless Brothers to become recognized leaders in their chosen fields, such as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel (Singers & Composers), Steve Goldman (Executive VP of Paramount Pictures), Wolf Blitzer (Journalist, Author, & CNN Correspondent), Adam Richman (Star of The Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food), and Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook). With Brothers like these, it is easy to see why so many men want to wear the AEPi gold and blue!
Alpha Epsilon Pi was originally founded as a Jewish fraternal organization, and although they have long since opened their doors to all young men regardless of religious affiliation, they have stayed true to the Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam” (“Repairing the World” in Hebrew). For this reason, philanthropic works play a large role for all members of the Fraternity, and at the 97th Anniversary Convention in New Orleans in August of 2010 AEPi Brothers fulfilled a pledge of $225,000 to three philanthropic organizations. While they had five years to complete the pledge, members were able to accomplish this goal one year early, contributing $100,000 to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, $100,000 to Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha, and $25,000 to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum.
It has been nearly 100 years since Alpha Epsilon Pi began to build its unique form of brotherhood. Over the years, it has survived four wars, the Great Depression, changes in moral standards, and a revolution in personal behavior and conduct. Through it all, the Brothers of AEPi have held true to the ideals of their founders, faith in Jewish ethics and values, love of country, honesty, brotherhood, and as represented by their mascot, the lion, courage. These values carry the members of AEPi from the fraternity house into the world, allowing them to lead successful lives as valued members of their communities.