Alpha Epsilon Pi is horrified by the violence at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last weekend. The Supreme Board of Governors was meeting in Indianapolis when news of the attack first became public. As we watched the news unfold, Supreme Master Jeff Jacobson asked that the board pause for a few minutes of quiet reflection and prayer. We were, of course, immediately concerned for our local undergraduates and our alumni and we were relieved to learn that none were killed or injured. Later that night, the board joined together to celebrate Havdalah and say Kaddish for those killed in this senseless attack. I can tell you that I have never felt closer to my community than I did at that moment.
I’m proud to tell you that, once more, our Brothers are living up to our mission – to develop the future leaders of the Jewish community. Just hours after the attack, our Brothers in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University – some of whom are congregants at Tree of Life — co-sponsored a service for the campus Jewish community. Last night, they joined with our Brothers at the University of Pittsburgh to sponsor a larger event involving the University president, local Rabbis and others. Also last night, our International Headquarters staff volunteered at the vigil presented by the Indianapolis Jewish Federation.
Since Saturday, chapters and alumni Brothers throughout the world have reached out to me asking what they can do to help their Brothers and the Pittsburgh community. We are working to coordinate an effort from AEPi.
We are launching our annual Shabbat Across AEPi program next week, where hundreds of chapters host or co-host a shabbat program on their campus. This year, especially, this program will be more meaningful to our Brothers, our campuses and our community.
Similarly, I want to point you to a nationwide initiative from the AJC, #ShowUpForShabbat, which is encouraging Jewish communities along with other communal allies to attend Shabbat services in their community to honor the memory of those lost in Pittsburgh and to stand up to antisemitism. For more information on this program, please click here. If you do participate, I encourage you to tell your social media friends and followers that you are an #AEPi and that you are going to #ShowUpForShabbat.
We teach our Brothers the importance of Tikkun Olam – healing the world. Sometimes, I wonder if the world might be too broken for healing. But, then, my Brothers lift me up. I see the light that exists in the world and I know that our people will survive, our community is in good hands and I believe that we will persevere. We will overcome this hatred and violence.
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh! All of Israel Are Responsible for One Another!
James C. Fleischer
Chief Executive Officer
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity