Jim’s Journal: We Need Our Brotherhood

There aren’t really a lot of bright spots of a global pandemic. That’s kind of a dumb statement. But, we’ve begun to identify a vitally important bright spot at AEPi.

Amidst the turmoil on campuses and the concerns about safety and all of our desperate attempts to keep our students and their campus communities as safe as possible, AEPi Brothers are finding a way to succeed by focusing on the things that matter most.

Unable to have safe in-person rush functions, our Brothers are instead getting to know potential new members through small group and one-on-one interactions. Even better, they’re often taking the time to have meaningful discussions about the values and mission of Alpha Epsilon Pi.

I’m convinced that, despite these trying times, we will remember 2020 also as a year during which AEPi refocused on the things that make us so different, important and strong. We’re focusing on our mission of developing leaders for the Jewish community and the importance of tikkun olam – repairing the world – at a time when the world has never needed leaders and repairing more.

We’ve also never needed Brotherhood as much as we need it now.

Others, too, need our Brotherhood. Our partners at Gift of Life, a national marrow registry working to cure blood cancers through cellular therapy, are struggling to get college-age people to add to their registry during the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, tens of thousands of students on campus and on Birthright trips registered every year. Now, that number has dwindled to less than 1,000. This puts patients at a greater risk of not being able to find the life-saving treatment they need in order to survive.

Over the last 15+ years, Alpha Epsilon Pi Brothers are responsible for obtaining nearly 14,000 swabs, resulting in 472 matches and a total of 65 lives saved.

It’s time to save more lives.

Gift of Life is making a push to obtain 5,781 swabs during the month of October (in recognition of the new Jewish year) and Alpha Epsilon Pi is committed to obtaining 1,913 of those swabs. Gift of Life is sending home testing kits to anyone who requests one. Chapters and colonies interested in participating in the 5,781 drive this month need to fill out this form. Once you do, a unique code will be given to your chapter to use when requesting a swab kit for anyone. Again, the test is a simple swab of the cheek that you send back to Gift of Life so that you can be added to the registry. This does not guarantee that you’ll be a match for someone. People wait years before ever being contacted about a possible donation.

For more information on AEPi’s commitment to Gift of Life during this month, check out this blog post on aepi.org.

It’s easy to get discouraged during this time. Instead, let’s focus on building a better fraternity for our Brothers and a better world for all of us.

Please stay safe, Brothers.