Jeff Jacobson Installed as 74th Supreme Master
“AEPi has been everything to me. From my Jewish identity to friendships and relationships to my leadership skills and my desire to give back to the community. All of it is because of AEPi.”
Growing up in Queens, NY, Brother Jeff Jacobson attended Queens College for his first two years of college. “In 1987, Andy Borans rushed me at Queens. He came to my mother’s garden apartment and talked to us about fraternity. I didn’t know anything about AEPi except that it had a menorah in the crest. That was enough for me.”
After initiating into the Kappa Chi chapter at Queens College, Jeff transferred to Northern Arizona University to finish college. “I had never been west of like Pittsburgh, but we had some family in Arizona and I really wanted to get out of Queens.”
There wasn’t an active chapter of AEPi at NAU at the time so he contacted the international office and offered to help restart the chapter. “Shortly after I enrolled at NAU, I encountered real antisemitism for the first time. I was shocked and knew that I needed to get AEPi back on campus.”
Brother Steve Herron came to visit him on campus and they began a decades long friendship and partnership. The re-founding father class of 12 brothers was off and running. By the time the brothers received their charter in 1992, the group had grown to nearly 30 men.
“The first two people I ever met from AEPi International were Andy Borans and Steve Herron. I was extraordinary lucky to have both of them as my fraternity role models. Steve was so smart and able to judge people in their fraternity roles.” Later that year, Brother Jacobson attended the west coast conclave at the University of California – Berkley and was awarded best delegate. He attended the 1991 international convention in Chicago and saw Richard Stein installed as Supreme Master. “My favorite experience at my first convention was sitting in the hotel lobby until 4AM playing snaps with guys like Elan Carr, Gerry Garcia and Mike Weinhaus. They have all become my lifelong friends.”
In law school at Whittier Law School, he roomed with former chapter consultant Jason Feld. “We knew each other through the fraternity. He actually brought Whittier to my attention,” said Feld. “We had met at some Western Regional conclave when we were both undergrads or had recently graduated. I remember being a chapter consultant and visiting Arizona State and meeting Jeff there and working with the chapter.”
Brothers Feld and Jacobson roomed together while in law school. “When Jeff was studying for the California bar, he put pieces of paper all over the apartment with the #1 on it to remind himself that he only wanted to take the bar exam one time. He also had various rules of law plastered around the apartment. He was really intense,” said Brother Feld. “He was the chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division one year and we went to the Western Regional Conference in Hawaii. Jeff made us all go and wear suits. The Dean of the University of Hawaii Law School, wearing khakis and a Hawaiian shirt, looked at us all like we were insane.”
During law school, Brothers Feld and Jacobson also served as co-chapter advisors at the Zeta Tau chapter at the University of California-Irvine.
After graduation, Jeff began a career as a prosecutor and lawyer. He moved to Tuscon, AZ to take on a job as a deputy county attorney and became the chapter advisor for the Upsilon Alpha chapter at the University of Arizona.
In 2001, he met his future wife, Rachel, through J-Date. “I was actually at a chapter meeting at Arizona and had to leave early to meet her. I remember telling the brothers I was going to meet ‘the pharmacist’ and laughing about it. We’re still together 17 years later,” said Jeff.
“When I first met him – our very first meeting – it was on a Wednesday he came straight from a fraternity meeting; he was the chapter advisor at the University of Arizona at the time. I had no idea what I was getting into. As we started dating more, he was always traveling, going to conventions and visiting chapters. He was gone so much and it frustrated me. I didn’t understand it. I was like, ‘You’re a grown man, why are you still in a frat,” said Rachel Jacobson, Jeff’s now wife.
“I’m not sure I completely understood it until Jeff took me to my first convention in Nashville in 2001. I remember taking the elevator down to where the fraternity was and I saw this swarm of guys and my first thoughts was, ‘Where were all of these cute guys when I was in college?’ I remember that he walked into the room and everyone knew him and was hugging him. That was very new to me. He’s got a world of friends wherever he goes,” said Rachel.
Brother Jacobson and Rachel have two children, Sam (11) and Shoshana (8).
“Today, AEPi is a part of our family,” said Rachel. “Over the course of our relationship and marriage, I have started to understand how important the fraternity is to Jeff. One of the things that’s most important to him is that he creating a legacy for our son. He’s put so much into AEPi because this is his way to ensure that there will be a vibrant Jewish community that our son can be a part of; that his Dad helped to build. Jeff’s experiences in the fraternity have shaped him as a dad and husband but also as a Jewish human being.”
“I want to say that I’m doing this (becoming Supreme Master) for my son and all of the other kids who will be going to colleges and looking for a Jewish place,” said Brother Jacobson. “That’s true but, in reality, I’m doing this for myself. I want to lead this organization to pay it back for everything I’ve gotten from it. I am the person I am because of AEPi.”Go back to cover