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Our History

Much of the following history was taken from the book, Alpha Epsilon Pi History and Roaster 1978. It is currently unknown which brother(s) wrote the original submission for publication. The content below was digitized and added to by Brother Evan Rosenthal.

The Iota Deuteron Chapter at the University of Alabama was installed in a ceremony held on January 24, 1942, at the McLester Hotel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was the last chapter installed until after the close of World War II.

Sigma Omega Psi, A Spirtual Predecessor

 

On October 29, 1937, four students at the University of Alabama decided to form a new fraternity, naming it Alpha Delta Epsilon. They rented a house on Caplewood Terrace, began to pledge men, added a kitchen facility, and developed an interest in various national fraternities.

 

As they grew, Dean James Newman encouraged them, and finally, needing more space, the group rented a home at 627 10th Street, one block from campus. With the encouragement of Dean Newman, the group petitioned Alpha Epsilon Pi and was pledged. The contact with AEPi had begun four years earlier when Dr. Harry L. Cohen was the Southern Regional Chairman and had continued until SG Irving Nathan made the final arrangements for installation.

Sigma Omega Psi was founded at the City College of New York in 1914. It would quickly expand across the country and the Rho chapter of Sigma Omega Psi would establish itself at the University in 1926. By 1936 they would found a total of 20 chapters across the country. However, by 1940 only 3 or 4 chapters of SOP were still active and the decision was made to merge nationally with Alpha Epsilon Pi.

 

Not much is known about the chapter's time at the university. However, it is known that the chapter had a house at 303 Reed Street, which still stands today. As well a report was filed in 1926 stating a total student enrollment of 4,829 and a Jewish enrollment of 65 with half coming from out of state. The chapter dissolved in 1931. Reasons for dissolution are not known but the most likely culprits were the increasing number of Jewish fraternities, weakening nationals, and most likely a non-on-campus house. One notable was brother Henry Kantor, a notable civil rights activist who fought for desegregation in the Nashville school system. As well, his son served as the US Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration. The last living alumni of the Rho Chapter entered chapter eternal in 2007. The chapter initiated 44 men and 1 honorary during its short existence.

Two carloads of brothers motored from Atlanta Georgia to conduct the ceremonies at McLester Hotel, with SM David Goldwasser conducting the ritual. Other brothers came from Birmingham and Nashville. Dean James Newman, who had been instrumental in bringing the fraternity to the campus, delivered a timely and stirring address. Rabbi Bertram Klausner of Hillel welcomed the new group, which he had supported from the outset. Isadore Pizitz (Gamma '24), leading Birmingham merchant, pledged the support of AEPi men in Alabama. Other speakers included Sidney Rose, President of the Atlanta Alumni Club, and Sidney Goldberg, Southern Regional Chairman, and later Supreme Master.

McLester Hotel
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The original charter group included: Master Samuel Burger, Scribe Henry Heller, Morton Ikowitz, Herbert Sackett, Sherman Sulkis, Julius Pearlman, Jerry Cohen, Arthur Schlanger, and Al Adlman. 

 

Neophytes subsequently initiated were: Sherwood O'Kuhn, Alvin Nagelberg, Frederick Swartz, Ivan Friedlander, David Echolosn, Robert Raynor, Bernard Spear, and Murray Kitman. Two transfers, Alan Bubis of Tau and Marvin Nathan of Omicron, also affiliated. Other brothers who already graduated were added as alumni later, including Samuel Kramer (‘42), who became Advisor to Beta Chapter in later years.

Murray Kitman was a member of the University Glee Club. Samuel Burger was on the Hillel Senior Council. Julius Pearlman was secretary of Gamma Sigma Epsilon. Sherman Sulkis was a feature writer for the Hillel News-Shofar. Henry Heller was secretary-treasurer of the Law School. 

In its first rush season in the fall of 1942, the chapter pledged fifteen men, an excellent showing. Herbert Sackett was Master and Jerome Chasen, Scribe. However before the chapter could establish itself firmly, World War II brought its activities to a close, but not until it had initiated most of its pledge class. With the return of the brothers from service, the chapter began to operate once again. After the war, the chapter was listed as briefly using Advisor Heller's house at 69 Cedar Crest. 

 

 

George Toll visited the campus, and working with Henry Heller, who was then an attorney in Tuscaloosa, helped the chapter rent a small house at 505 10th Street. Milton Wohl, Robert Dunkelman, James Levitt, and Clayton Bogert were initiated, and by the end of the 1946-1947 year, Bernard Weitzman, Leonard Horn, Max Minsky, Ralph Heller, Samuel Schwartz, and Everett Freed had been added to the rolls.

 

Milton H. Wohl was Master, with Harold Shafron as Lieutenant Master, Barney Weitzman as Scribe, and Max Minsky as Exchequer. Harold Thropp was elected to Tau Beta Pi and Harold Shafron became Treasurer of Hillel.

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In 1947-48 the chapter continued to grow, with the initiation of Lewis Blum, Elliot Goldberg, Merton Harris, David Kravitz, Arnold Pom-stein, Bernard Scharfstein, Eli Selikoff, and Woodrow Zelkind. David Kravitz became Master and Elliot Goldberg was Scribe. Later the chapter initiated Richard Smith. Harry Siegel became the Advisor. The chapter continued its development in 1948-49 when Richard Friedman was initiated.

 

The chapter was handicapped by inferior quarters and began to work toward obtaining better ones. Finally, after great effort on the part of the national fraternity, and with the cooperation of the University, a new home was constructed on the campus at 322 University which would become the first house constructed on New Fraternity Row and a house-warming took place in October of 1950. Attending was President of the University John Gallalee, Supreme Governor Arnold Hoffman, and many other guests. The housewarming was broadcast across the state from WTBC, Tuscaloosa. Twenty-nine men were pledged, and Woodrow Zelkind was Master.

Fourteen men were initiated in 1951. PM Jerry Preis was a member of the Cotillion Club, Woody Zelkind was elected to Scabbard and Blade, and Seymour Sheckter became treasurer of Hillel. Marvin Itzkowitz was admitted to Pi Mu Epsilon math honorary. The chapter took third place in the Jasons Jamboree. Elected to lead Iota Deuteron were Master Leslie Goldenthal, LM Seymour Sheckter, Scribe Joe Strimer, Exchequer Herb Weinshank, and Richard Friedman, Member-at-Large. Jack Fein was a member of Sigma Delta Chi.

 

In 1951-52 the chapter pledged twenty-eight, giving the house a total of sixty-five men. Paul Price was elected to

Blackfriars, while Irwin Sherman was feature editor of the Rammer-Jammer, campus humor magazine. The chapter took second place in Jasons Jamboree. Don Pindus and Morris Resnikoff were elected to Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-med honorary; Irwin Sherman was elected to Alpha Epsilon Rho radio honorary. Sol Kaufman was elected Master, Irwin Sherman became LT Master, Harold Goldstein was Scribe. Marty Lustberg was Exchequer, and Fred Goldschmidt and Harvey Platt were Members-at-Large.

 

In this year came the sad news of the loss of Ben Siegal, while serving in the Air Force. He was the son of Advisor Ed Siegal and nephew of Co-Advisor Harry Siegal. His cousin, Bernard, was also a member of Iota Deuteron as was his younger brother, Stanley.

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