Our heritage stems from one source: young Jewish men banding together in allegiance. The role of Alpha Epsilon Pi has expanded since its inception in 1913. Initially, the Jewish fraternity served as a brotherhood of young men who came from similar religious backgrounds and who had experienced the same prejudices against their religious beliefs. Alpha Epsilon Pi soon broadened its role to include serving as the living quarters for some of its members. The fraternity became a home away from home, providing the same stabilizing and guiding values that students previously gained from their families. Armed with these values, Alpha Epsilon Pi faced changing conditions on the college campus and survived. Today, Jewish students search out Alpha Epsilon Pi because it is a Jewish Fraternity. In the fraternity’s 98-year history, over 93,000 men have worn the badge of Alpha Epsilon Pi and each year, over 2,500 undergraduates perform the Ritual of Initiation, which remains the same ritual adopted decades ago.
Perhaps of greater importance, Alpha Epsilon Pi develops leadership for the future of the American Jewish community. Tomorrow’s Jewish leaders are in our chapters today. These are the young men who must be counted upon to support Jewish causes and to prepare to be one of tomorrow’s Jewish leaders, so that they may aid themselves, their family, their community, and their people. Those students who enter the mainstream of non-Jewish life on the campus are far more likely to assimilate and to forsake their heritage. Working together with the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life/International Hillel, Alpha Epsilon Pi can play a vital role in helping reverse the growing trend among our young people to abandon Judaism at this critical time.
Throughout our history, the fraternity setting has served as a “learning laboratory”, a testing ground for young men who later become leaders in business, education, government, religion, and science. A goal of our fraternity is to help each student to develop character, to learn responsibility, and to develop a proper set of values through living together in brotherhood. Alpha Epsilon Pi prepares young men for their role in life as responsible citizens.
Therefore, our basic purpose is to provide the opportunity for a Jewish man to be able to join a Jewish organization whose purpose is not specifically religious, but rather social and cultural in nature. Alpha Epsilon Pi is a Jewish fraternity, though non-discriminatory and open to all who are willing to espouse its purpose and values.