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.
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.
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.
In 1953-1954, Jerry Klein was head of UJA on campus, and in 1955-56 the chapter's entry in the Homecoming float parade won a place. The chapter retired the Hillel Participation Trophy after winning it three years in a row, and Leonard Rosenthal was Hillel president. Leonard Stolar was elected to the Student Legislature, was assistant business manager of the campus paper, treasurer of Freshman Advisory Council, and chairman of Freshman Orientation. Stanley Parnett was tapped by Druids and was the circulation manager of the newspaper. Jerry Levin's act took the prize in Jasons Jamboree. Harvey Mednick was initiated Alpha Phi Omega, and Joel Maimon received the campus newspaper's gold key.
In 1956-57, Leonard Stolar became president of the Cotillion Club and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa and to Jasons, a senior honor society. The chapter placed sixth on campus academically. The campus newspaper numbered Bob Cohn, Len Stolar, Stan Parnett, Ira Gwirtzman, and Len Rosenthal on its staff. Jack Green was elected to Psi Chi psychology honorary. Marshall Ginsburg and Erwin Baker were on WABP radio station staff. Alan Siegal was tapped by Druids Sophomore society and made Phi Eta Sigma. Howard Tepper was a team varsity baseball pitcher while Leonard Kaplan starred on the basketball team.
On Saturday night February 8, 1958, the chapter had the honor to host the Southern Regional Conclave at the Stafford Hotel.
In 1959-60, the chapter was honored to have its nominee, Joni Carlin, elected National Sweetheart at the Houston Convention and President of Alpha Epsilon Delta. Mike Kampf was a member of the Druids. Bob Cohn was elected editor-in-chief of the University Newspaper. Gary Rosen was the business manager of Homecoming Events, and Michael Kampf was on the varsity rifle team.
The chapter initiated eight new men. Arnold Greenberg was elected to Druids, Allan Koplan became of a member of Rho Alpha Tau freshman honorary, and Wally Kaner belonged to Philos. Master Gary Rosen was chairman of IFC’s Stepsinging. Alan Siegal, outstanding campus figure, graduated, as did Howard Levine, basketball standout. Mark Silverstein and Bruce Millman were tapped by Druids. Mike Kampf was elected representative from Arts and Sciences. Elected for the next year, we’re Master Seymour Moskowitz, LM Mike Kampf, Scribe Bruce Millman, Exchequer Larry Yampolsky, Member-at-Large Wally Kaner, and Sentinel Alan Koplan.
Not until 1965-66 did the chapter file another report on its doing. Four men were pledged in the second term. Officers included Master Steven Berger, LM Stuart Corenblum, Scribe Sheldon Levine, Exchequer Robert Wechsler, Member-at-Large Henry Zangwill, and Sentinel Marvin Feldman. The chapter’s manpower had dropped sharply as the number of students interested in fraternities declined. The house, at 322 University was beginning to show signs of wear and tear. In 1967-68 the chapter marked its 25th anniversary with a homecoming celebration. Alumni attending included Mr. and Mrs. Don Siegal, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Schwartz, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Stahl.
During the next year 1968-69, the chapter house was given a face lifting with the help of Steve Heller and Mike Klotzman. Mike was elected vice-president of Hillel, Geoffrey Colton was elected Master, with Robert Marcus as LT Master, Ira Blank as Rush Chairman, Steve Schapiro as Scribe, Robert Marcus as Exchequer, Albert Press as Member-at-Large and Allen Sheff as Sentinel. The chapter ranked fourth on-campus scholastically, and Al Kofman became Advisor. The national fraternity had gone to considerable lengths to improve the exterior of the chapter house. It was thought that this, together with interior refurbishing, would give the chapter a new lease on life. But it was not to be and by 1970, chapter manpower was so low with only 10 active brothers the house was turned over to the University and the chapter was declared dormant.
Attempts to re-active were made in 1976 and 1977 with founding fathers initiated at the Theta Chapter, Auburn, sadly this led to no avail. Iota Deuteron initiated a total of 383 men. None of its brothers ever served on the national level.
It is hoped that future attempts will be successful. - Alpha Epsilon Pi History and Roaster 1978 page 646
An attempt to restart Iota Deuteron was made again in May 2013 when six re-founding fathers were initiated at the local Hillel and Iota Deuteron was recolonized. The group was: Master Jared Cohen, Joshua Frank, Samuel Jurgens, Lee Jonathan, Isaac Benjamin, and Max Green. The advisor to the group was Andy Griesinger. The group never pledged any men. This led to Iota Deuteron becoming defunct yet again in under two years' time. Brother Benjamin sadly passed away unexpectedly in 2017.
The next attempt to restart Iota Deuteron came in 2017, which led to Iota Deuteron's successful return to the University of Alabama. Jacob Forenstein was sent from AEPi nationals to begin recruiting men interested in restarting the Iota Deuteron Chapter of THE Jewish Fraternity. His attempts bore huge success with a total of 11 men initiated as re-founding fathers into a group of “prospective men.” While the 11 number was not a specific goal, it is symbolic in nature as the “Immortal 11” as they are referred to were the same number of re-founding fathers who originally formed the first chapter of AEPi in 1913 at NYU. The colony now chapter advisor was and continues to be M. Joshua Frank.
The group included: Master Zachary Shepps, Lieutenant Master Seth Cohen (brother of Jared Cohen), Scribe Jason Levinson, Exchequer Joshua Trupp, and Brother at Large Michael Gefter of the Executive Board. The rest of the re-founding fathers were: Historian Jacob Osachy, Pledgemaster & Rush Chairman David Saxe, Ian Resmondo Philantrophy Chairman, Isaac Lurie, Ethan Sobel, and Jacob Silberman.
This group of men started working diligently toward achieving Coloney status and under six months achieved said status, Iota Deuteron was officially recolonized in record time!
The first rush chair and pledge master was David Saxe who served as both positions, two roles that are rarely taken on at once. It is because of brother Saxe’s diligence an eight-man Alpha Pledge class was assembled and a successful pledgeship as well as a pledge trip to visit Nashville and Vanderbilt AEPi led to a 100% initiation rate. This also began the tradition of having a retreat so brothers and pledges can get to know each other every Fall.
Alpha Pledge class was formally inducted in Temple Emanu-EL which is directly adjacent to Hillel, as well during Alpha Class’s initiation the chapter's first honorary brother was initiated. Rabbi Kussi Lipskier the local Chabad Rabbi was initiated as an Honorary Brother in thanks for the help provided in helping Iota Deuteron find, “its footing” as much of our success is owed to his tireless efforts. During the 2017-2018 year, the colony used the Ferguson center for meetings as well as Master Schepps opened his home as a meeting and activity spaces, 231 Cedar Crest.
The second executive board of Fall 2018-Fall 2019 consisted of Master David Saxe, LT Master Joshua Trupp, returning Scribe Jason Levinson, Exchequer Dylan Kassman, and Brother at Large Isaac Lurie.
As well, Kate Salsky of the Delta Gamma Sorority was chosen by the brotherhood to be the colonies and later chapters first sweetheart. This year solidified the tradition of having a retreat in the Fall and formal in the Spring which was held in New Orleans. The retreat was in Destin Florida and saw a majority of the brotherhood attend.