Bentley AEPi Gets Campus to Walk to Remember

These are difficult time. The yelling and screaming and chanting and horrible images. With antisemitism running rampant on campuses and in the streets. With Jews hiding their identities to help keep themselves safe.

At this precise moment in time. This story resonates with all of us.

“The world hasn’t gone mad,” said Brother Josh Fontak (Bentley, 2025). “It’s just that the people who are mad are the loudest.”

The president of AEPi’s Psi Beta chapter at Bentley was looking for a way to make a statement. “When you scroll through social media and see a post about a Jewish student getting assaulted on campus and all of the responses are watermelon emojis (a sign of Palestinian support) and people posting stuff like ‘Free Palestine’ and stuff like, ‘what about the genocide in Gaza?’ It’s infuriating. Not just minimizing but denying what happened in history, what happened in the Holocaust. With Yom HaShoah right around the corner, it seemed like the right time to do this.”

Brother Fontak is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, but he never had a chance to speak with his grandparents about their experiences. “My grandparents were interviewed as a part of Steven Spielberg’s Shoah project, so I got to hear their stories about the Holocaust…probably in more detail than if they had spoken to me directly. It’s always been important to me.”

The Philadelphia native and his chapter Brothers planned a Holocaust Remembrance Day event – We Walk to Remember – where students would walk through campus silently and then meet and commemorate those who were lost. Brother Fontak called on Bentley’s Greek system to join with AEPi at the event. “At a meeting of all the other fraternity and sorority presidents, I told them that we wanted to do this and that AEPi doesn’t want to be alone. I told them that we need their support now more than ever. Every other fraternity and sorority president told me that they were absolutely here for us. Every one of them showed up at our event with a lot of their chapter members.”

“Right now, Jews feel so isolated so to have so many other members of Greek life show up and support us was super important. There’s a big stigma about Greek life but we got great support and that is a great message for our community.”

Bentley’s Greek system is small, but the support was meaningful for the AEPi Brothers. “Our campus is pretty quiet. We’ve had the opportunity to have a lot of logical and respectful conversations about what is happening. It’s very different than a lot of places.”

The event drew more than 100 people and on a cold day in Waltham, they walked in somber silence to commemorate the Holocaust. Local media attended and captured the story, in stark contrast to media coverage at other campuses.

The role that AEPi can and does play on college campuses in terms of building support from outside the Jewish community has never been more important than it is today. Leadership for the Jewish community also includes building bridges with the non-Jewish community. AEPi is often at the center of those relationships on campuses.

A few days after the event, the university president hosted Greek life leaders at a dinner and congratulated them on the event and the positive messages it sent. “He told us that he would come to a campus-wide Rosh Hashanah dinner AEPi wants to host next fall and he said that would draft a letter of commitment to keep Bentley safe for Jews on campus.”

“I know that there are a lot of Jewish moms out there who are googling about where to send their kids to college, and I want them to see that Bentley is a safe place for their sons.

As long as AEPi is here on campus at Bentley, Jewish kids will be safe.”