Nice Jewish Boys

0415chesterVisualize the stereotypical male college student. Does your image match the standard views of the past, composed of privilege, prestige and ingenuity in thought?

Now, take your image, and add Judaism to the picture.

For many, this new conception deviates to a controversial reflection of a struggling late-adolescent working to overcome the harsh realities of hatred, oppression and racism, searching for a place to belong.

With growth and progression in so many areas of our society, how is there such a significant digression in the mindset, lifestyle and general feeling of safety of our collegiate leaders of tomorrow? This paradigm shift seems paradoxical.

Where might a student go to explore their identity, and find others who not only experience a similar reality, but also a desire to reach an improved future filled with a peaceful climate, continuity and collaboration between different racial, social and ethnic groups?

For over 100,000 men in multiple countries, the panacea for battling and overcoming difficulties was found through the brotherhood of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi). In Orange County, AEPi is strongly represented by three distinct chapters.

Jlife met with the current leaders of AEPi, to learn how they’ve benefitted from the fraternity and how closeness in proximity has encouraged chapter collaboration.

“Originally from North Carolina, I didn’t have many Jewish friends growing up,” said Will Hyman, Master and Founding Father of Chapman AEPi. “AEPi helped me strengthen my identity and become proud to be Jewish. Now, my best friends are Jewish.”

Arthur DeTalia, Lieutenant Master at CSUF, placed an emphasis on the pride he has in being Jewish and supporting Israel. “A big pillar of AEPi is advocating for the Jewish people,” said DeTalia. “Because our Jewish community is small, we put energy into the growth of Judaism on campus and strive to increase Jewish pride.”

When asked about the challenges posed by the BDS movement, Aaron Daniel, Master of UCI AEPi, said, “There’s strength in numbers. We know we have the support of one another from every campus, especially when things are difficult. What differentiates us from other Greek chapters is that we’re young, educated men who aren’t afraid to take a stand against hatred and support one another and the Jewish people at all costs.”

AEPi is more than a fraternity. It’s a brotherhood of ambitious men who wish to make a difference, with members who are products of Jewish empowerment, pride and perseverance, all of which are vehemently clear through their volunteer and social justice projects.

Alpha Epsilon Pi breeds Jewish leadership, aids in young men discovering their full potential and helps them determine exactly where they belong.

Now, imagine your stereotypical Jewish college student.

Adam Chester graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Clinical Psychology, is the NextGen Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at JFFS, and a proud alumnus of The Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

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