Yesterday, Rabbi Drew spoke to the Zeta Beta Tau chapter at California State University, Long Beach on the historical conditions surrounding the founding of ZBT.
Although most of the members of the chapter are not Jewish, ZBT is the oldest Jewish fraternity in the country, having started in 1898. It removed its uniquely Jewish student acceptance policy in 1954.
Rabbi Drew spoke of the growing numbers of Jews in the US toward the end of the 19th century, as well as both the growing anti-semitism generally and, more specifically, the exclusion of Jewish students from joining other Greek fraternities. Furthermore, he spoke of the literary context of the verse in Isaiah 1:27 that Zion shall be redeemed with judgment (ציון במשפט תפדה) that gave rise to the initial acronym for the fraternity.
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