Mindful of our founding Mission and purpose, today Zeta Beta Tau has created a clear path to amplify our chapter training and the ways we enable our brothers to champion diversity and meaningfully impact their local Jewish communities and Jewish communities around the world.
We are proactive in sharing our heritage and connecting with the Jewish community. Brothers from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to take advantage of the many individual and communal opportunities to engage with ZBT’s heritage.
“As an organization founded because Jewish men were discriminated against from joining existing organizations, it is with great pride that ZBT continues to educate our brothers and the community about acceptance of all different types. Issues facing our brothers go beyond just anti-Semitism and this campaign is designed to not only end all forms of hate on college campuses but also to prepare our brothers for the diverse world they will live in,” said Executive Director Laurence A. Bolotin, M.Ed., CAE, Alpha Zeta (University of Florida) ’01.
For the past three years, the Fraternity has been able to offer grants to chapters and colonies through a program that is generously funded through the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. The Chapter Heritage Grants program allows chapters and colonies to sponsor events with local organizations that are in line with our Mission, such as Hillel, Chabad on Campus, Jewish federations and community centers and more.
In the 2015-2016 year, 17 chapters and colonies were awarded a grant. Total dollars awarded were $18,252, making the average grant over $1,000. Examples of typical events include Shabbat dinners, international guest speakers and Holocaust remembrance events.
Israel Advocacy Program
The international fraternity also expanded the Israel advocacy program offered in its second year to nearly 40 brothers. Hosted in Washington, D.C., the Israel Advocacy Summit gives brothers an in-depth weekend of connecting with partner organizations and entities that support Israel, and also connects undergraduates and alumni from across the U.S. who share a goal of promoting Israel.
The 2016 event, recently hosted from November 18 to 20, expanded by offering beginner and advanced level sessions to better educate a wider variety of brothers.
“Each year this program gets bigger and better, and more students are reached, helping spread a positive message to campuses across the U.S.,” said ZBT Director of Jewish Programs and Strategic Partnerships Jason A. Horowitz, Beta Phi (University of Pittsburgh) ’09. “This is a critical step toward our goal of making ZBT the premier Israel advocacy fraternity.”
Words to Action Program
In the 2016-2017 academic year, ZBT also plans to bring our award-winning Words to Action program to more campuses. This program offers interactive discussion that helps students learn to respond to anti-Semitism and change hate culture on their campus. Words to Action is facilitated by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) staff. On select campuses, we partner with three other Greek organizations to bring the program to more students.
“The partners throughout this initiative and, most importantly, the students, have all made an inspiring collective decision to be part of the solution in ending hate on campuses worldwide,” Executive Director Bolotin said.
Illustrated by the ADL through Words to Action, Zeta Beta Tau has made a conscientious effort to build relationships with partner organizations in the Jewish community and to offer our brothers a variety of opportunities to learn about and live our Mission.
Jewish Women International & Green Light Go
A critical step in this plan has been the adoption of Jewish Women International (JWI) as an official philanthropic partner. The Fraternity has prioritized promoting healthy relationships and safe campuses, and we educate ZBT brothers on how they can be leaders in this area.
“Changing the culture on our nation’s campuses is one of the greatest challenges of this generation. To see the young men of ZBT step up as allies and as advocates has been tremendous,” said Lori Weinstein, CEO of JWI.
ZBT has launched a new signature fundraiser, Green Light Go, to support the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation’s Fund for Safe and Healthy Campuses, which will allow JWI to create programs that will educate brothers about healthy relationship and bystander intervention. These programs will position our men as leaders in changing the culture on campus and being examples of the very best of the fraternal world.
Starting with a brother’s time as a student, ZBT’s connection to its Mission offers a clear focus on life skills, provides opportunities for career and personal development, fills in the gap between classroom and real-world education and provides meaningful contact with alumni.