Robin Margolis at Half-Jewish Network sent us this item, a story in UCLA’s Daily Bruin about a new Jewish sorority on campus – Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi. What caught Robin’s eye, and ours, was not that a new Jewish sorority has emerged, but it’s a non-exclusive Jewish sorority. That means it is open to anyone who is interested in affiliating with the Jewish community. According to the piece, Sigma has “one non-Jewish and many half-Jewish members.”
Does this mean they are sacrificing Jewish culture by opening their doors to diversity? Absolutely not. Jacqualine Raffi, president of Sigma, said that before they were able to register as a sorority, the girls “have worked with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteered in soup kitchens, planned discussions as Hillel, held date parties, and baked challah…”
What really helped them take off was the support of Hillel, who helped out with funding and offered a place to hold meetings. Elana Simon, the Paraphernalia Chair of Sigma, said bluntly, “Hillel is what got us started.”
The group has grown so rapidly they now have to hold an invite-only spring rush to control their growth. We applaud these girls for creating a new Jewish presence on campus, especially one that is so inclusive. It is also clear that Hillel, through their support of Sigma, is actively encouraging Jewish students to, as their mission statement says, “enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
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