Proud To Be an AEPi Brother


By Marc Prine

As I accepted the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Young Leadership Award this past fall, I made sure to pay homage to the organization that started me on my Jewish leadership journey.

The spark did not come from my Conservative Hebrew school or youth group. In fact, when I first got to college, I initially refused to set foot into a campus Hillel or Chabad House. For me, it happened at Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Like so many young men before me, I stepped onto the Temple University campus for the first time, not restricted by the rules of my parents but looking to explore all the collegiate experience had to offer. I knew for certain that Judaism, in the form I had learned it, would not be part of that experience.

Then everything I had ever thought, felt and knew about Judaism was turned on its head. I was invited to a fraternity house, the historically Jewish fraternity AEPi. Here I saw people doing Judaism on their own terms. One of the first experiences I remember in college was dancing with a group of people, whom I had met just weeks earlier, down Broad Street with a Torah to celebrate Simchat Torah. I didn’t know Judaism could be fun.

Over the next four years, my second major was AEPi. I got involved in the activism of raising thousands of dollars for organizations like Sharsheret, Magen David Adom and many others. I was part of a group of fraternity men (we are not “frat boys”) who would wake up early on a Sunday to pack boxes at the Jewish Relief Agency (the bagels really helped the early morning headache).

I learned about Israel and how to be a Zionist in a way that did not just involve waving a flag and eating hummus, but having conversations and discourse with those who disagree with everything I believe in. I learned to corral a group of men to be unified, run committees and meetings, and work toward a common goal. I was mentored and learned to mentor others. I learned how to be part of something greater than myself. AEPi made a leader out of me.

I am not the only one. In our community, there are AEPi brothers on more boards and committees than I can name. From our Jewish Federation and organizations it funds, both on the left and the right, and our synagogues and schools. In Philadelphia, AEPi truly lives up to its commitment to develop leadership for the Jewish community.

I want to be explicitly clear: The actions with which my fraternity has been associated in the news are not acceptable. Actions such as these have no place in the fraternity, on our campuses or in our society. I cannot and will not defend these actions in any way. These alleged actions, though, are not the norm.

I ask all of you in the community to recognize this. When you see a resume come through your desk of a young man with AEPi listed, recognize we are men who hold our ideals paramount. When you send your sons off to college this fall, recognize they will have the opportunity to join the ranks of some of the finest leaders in our community.

I am among the more than 90,000 living alumni who take responsibility for our community and hope you recognize just why I am proud to be an AEPi brother. 

Marc Prine is the founder of MIP Consulting LLC and an industrial/organizational psychologist.


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