Jeffrey H. Jacobson, a Tucson attorney, became the 74th supreme master at Alpha Epsilon Pi’s 105th International Convention in Phoenix in August. “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,” he says.
The mission of AEPi, the Jewish college fraternity, is to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities through acts of brotherhood, tzedakah (charity), social awareness and support for Jewish communities and Israel. With more than 100,000 alumni globally, the fraternity initiates about 3,000 undergraduate men annually. It is the largest fraternity in Canada and the only one in Austria, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Australia, says Jacobson.
In Jacobson’s new role, he will chair the large nonprofit’s board of directors, setting policy, governance and operational issues, managing the CEO and 40 employees. Jacobson attended his first conference as an undergraduate in 1991. “I saw all these older men giving their time, money and passion to AEPi. I thought, ‘I want to do that.’ They were doing good for me, I wanted to be a part of that,” he recalls. He has been a volunteer with the organization ever since.
“I believe in what we’re doing. It’s the only fraternity with a mission to develop leaders for the Jewish community,” says Jacobson. Among the organization’s alumni are the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, ESPN founder Chet Simmons, three Nobel Prize winners, scores of actors and entertainers, politicians, company founders, presidents and CEOs.
After a two-year tenure as supreme master, Jacobson will remain on the board for another two years. “This is the culmination of my service, but also a beginning,” Jacobson notes. He says it is a challenging time to be a college student. “We are very focused on health and safety issues, and making sure our members fulfill our mission. There’s no need to look past today’s headlines to know the campus experience for college students is changing. We are trying to adjust to that and make sure members and guests are not harmed in any way, by enforcing Jewish values.”
Four other Tucsonans were among 12 new honorary fraternity brothers recruited by Jacobson and inducted at the conference: Amir Eden, Dr. Seneca Erman, Gary Kippur and Stuart Mellan.
“I was never a frat boy, but I had the fun and honor of being inducted as a brother into AEPi,” says Mellan, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. “The best part was sharing the experience of Shabbat dinner with hundreds of these ‘frat boys.’ It was energizing and inspiring.”