For more than a century, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity has grown as a Brotherhood and as a family. During this time, ZBT has built foundations and reached milestones that no other Greek fraternal organization has replicated.
While all brothers surely know some of these accomplishments we share, perhaps you may not have heard some of the newer milestones. As always, ZBT is forward-thinking, yet mindful of our traditions.
- First Jewish fraternity: Since our historic founding on Dec. 29, 1898, more than 140,000 men have been initiated into our great Brotherhood, all sharing the pride of our rich Jewish heritage. Today, ZBT prides itself on being an inclusive Jewish organization welcoming of any college man who understands and appreciates our Mission.
- First Zionist fraternity: ZBT is committed to supporting Israel on campus and providing brothers opportunities to engage with the country both on campus and through organized trip opportunities. ZBT is also committed to combatting movements to delegitimize Israel on campus.
- First fraternity to abolish pledging: Zeta Beta Tau prides itself that our brotherhood is built upon equality and that all brothers share equal rights and responsibilities from the beginning of their time as brothers. Leading up to the decision to abolish pledging in 1989, the Supreme Council saw a continuous series of disciplinary problems that mostly resulted from hazing incidents. The Supreme Council determined that pledging did not promote the values of ZBT because pledging creates a two-tier class system that always leads to hazing. Pledging does not create good brothers — it teaches that once the pledge period is over, there is no further obligation to the Fraternity. Immediate initiation also places emphasis on the fact that ZBT is a lifelong brotherhood.
- First Fraternity to incorporate a sexual assault prevention program: The Fraternity prioritizes educating our brothers on the common pitfalls of student life and making healthy decisions. One of our key programs is the award-winning Safe Smart Dating, developed in partnership with Sigma Delta Tau Sorority and Jewish Women International, now one of the premier national workshops on dating abuse and sexual assault for the Greek community on college campuses.
- First fraternity to commit to hate prevention on campus: ZBT offers dedicated programming to brothers and shared with their fellow students on campuses to educate on antisemitism, racism and other forms of hate. We firmly stand against all forms of hate in our communities, and we are actively working to create a safer and more inclusive college and community environment for all students. We have earned awards for our work in this area.
Through good times and bad, ZBT has been in the forefront in pioneering new concepts — as evidenced by its very founding, its elimination of sectarian membership practices, its acceptance of mergers, its elimination of pledging, and its ability to solve enormous problems when others abandoned the effort.
As always, it’s great to be a ZBT!
We’re excited to share as well that Zeta Beta Tau has been recognized by Washington Jewish Week, the Jewish newspaper of record in the nation’s capital.
We certainly know that ZBT is the best fraternity … and the readers of the newspaper agree! For the first time in the four years the contest has been conducted, Zeta Beta Tau was voted Best Fraternity by the metro area’s Jewish community. The honorees in the 2021 contest, inclusive of dozens of categories like best bagel and best Hebrew school, were announced Oct. 28. Mazel tov to all of ZBT in the area and the other winners.