B’nai B’rith

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B’nai B’rith
B'nai B'rith International - logo - 2017 to Present.jpg
Motto The Global Voice of the Jewish Community
Formation October 13, 1843; 171 years ago
Type NGO
Location
  • 2020 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006
Coordinates 38°54′9.80″N77°2′19.90″WCoordinates: 38°54′9.80″N 77°2′19.90″W
President Allan J. Jacobs
Chairman of the Executive Gary P. Saltzman
Website www.bnaibrith.org

B’nai B’rith International (English pronunciation: /bəˌn ˈbrɪθ/, from Hebrew: בני בריתb’né brit, “Children of the Covenant“)[1] is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world. B’nai B’rith states that it is committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and combating antisemitism and bigotry. Its mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life, to provide broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and to facilitate advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.

B’nai B’rith membership certificate, 1876

Although the organization’s historic roots stem from a system of fraternal lodges[2] and units in the late 20th century,[3] as fraternal organizations declined throughout the United States, the organization evolved into a dual system of both lodges and units. The membership pattern became more common to other contemporary organizations of members affiliated by contribution in addition to formal dues paying members. In recent years, the organization reported more than 200,000 members and supporters in more than 50 countries and a budget of $14,000,000. Nearly 95% of the membership is in the United States.

B’nai B’rith International is affiliated with the World Jewish Congress.

Origins[edit]

B’nai B’rith was founded in Aaron Sinsheimer’s café[3] in New York City‘s Lower East Side on October 13, 1843, by 12 recent German Jewish immigrants led by Henry Jones. The new organization represented an attempt to organize Jews of the local community to confront what Isaac Rosenbourg, one of the founders, called “the deplorable condition of Jews in this, our newly adopted country”.[4] The new group’s purpose, as described in its constitution, called for the traditional functions performed by Jewish societies in Europe: “Visiting and attending the sick” and “protecting and assisting the widow and the orphan.” Its founders had hoped that it soon would encompass all Jews in the United States, but this did not happen, since other Jewish organizations also were forming around the same time.[5]

With their Yiddish heritage, the founders originally named the organization Söhne des Bundes (Sons of the Covenant)[6] to reflect their goal of a fraternal order[7] that could provide comfort to the entire spectrum of Jewish Americans. Although early meetings were conducted in Yiddish, after a short time English emerged as the language of choice and the name was changed to B’nai B’rith. In the late 20th century, the translation was changed to the more contemporary and inclusive Children of the Covenant.

Despite its fraternal and local beginnings, B’nai B’rith spoke out for Jewish rights early in its history and used its growing national chain of lodges as a way to exercise political influence on behalf of world Jewry. In 1851, for example, it circulated petitions urging Secretary of State Daniel Webster to demand the end of Jewish disabilities in Switzerland, during on-going trade negotiations. Into the 1920s the B’nai B’rith continued in its political work by joining in Jewish delegations and lobbying efforts through which American Jews sought to influence public policy, both domestic and foreign. B’nai B’rith also played a crucial role in transnational Jewish politics. The later spread of the organization around the world made it a nerve center of intra-Jewish communication and mutual endeavor.[8]

From 1843 until the early 1900s[edit]

The organization’s activities during the 19th and 20th centuries were dominated by mutual aid, social service and philanthropy. In keeping with their concerns for protecting their families, the organization’s first concrete action was the establishment of an insurance policy awarding widows of deceased members $30 toward funeral expenses and astipend of $1 a week for the rest of their life. To aid their children, each child would also receive a stipend and, for male children, the assurance he would be taught a trade.[9]

In 1851, Covenant Hall was erected in New York City as the first Jewish community center in the United States, and also what is widely considered to be the first Jewish public library in the United States.[3] One year later, B’nai B’rith established the Maimonides Library.[10] Immediately following the Civil War—when Jews on both sides of the battle were left homeless—B’nai B’rith founded the 200-bed Cleveland Jewish Orphan Home. Over the next several years, the organization would establish numerous hospitals, orphanagesand homes for the aged.[11]

In 1868, when a devastating flood crippled Baltimore, B’nai B’rith responded with a disaster relief campaign. This act preceded the founding of the American Red Cross by 13 years and was to be the first of many domestic relief programs. That same year, B’nai B’rith sponsored its first overseas philanthropic project raising $4,522 to aid the victims of a cholera epidemic in Ottoman Palestine.

In 1875, a lodge was established in Toronto, followed soon after by another in Montreal and in 1882 by a lodge in Berlin. Membership outside of the United States grew rapidly. Soon, lodges were formed in Cairo (1887) and in Jerusalem (1888—nine years before Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland).[12] The Jerusalem lodge became the first public organization to hold all of its meetings in Hebrew.[13][14]

After 1881, with the mass immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States,[15] B’nai B’rith sponsored Americanization classes, trade schools and relief programs. This began a period of rapid membership growth, a change in the system of representation and questioning of the secret rituals common to fraternal organizations. In 1897, when the organization’s U.S. membership numbered slightly more than 18,000, B’nai B’rith formed a ladies’ auxiliary chapter in San Francisco. This was to become B’nai B’rith Women, which in 1988 broke away as an independent organization, Jewish Women International.[16]

The beginning of the 20th century[edit]

In response to the Kishinev pogrom in 1903[17] President Theodore Roosevelt and Secretary of State John Hay met with B’nai B’rith’s executive committee in Washington, D.C. B’nai B’rith President Simon Wolf presented the draft of a petition to be sent to the Russian government protesting the lack of opposition to the massacre. Roosevelt readily agreed to transmit it and B’nai B’rith lodges began gathering signatures around the country.

In the first two decades of the 20th century B’nai B’rith launched three of today’s major Jewish organizations: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Hillel and BBYO (originally B’nai B’rith Youth Organization). Later they would take on a life of their own with varying degrees of autonomy.

A growing concern in the 1920s was the preservation of Jewish values as immigration slowed and a native Jewish population of Eastern European ancestry came to maturity.[18]In 1923, Rabbi Benjamin Frankel of Illinois established an organization on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to provide both Reform and Orthodox Sabbath services, classes in Judaism and social events for Jewish college students. Two years later, he approached B’nai B’rith about adopting this new campus organization. B’nai B’rith sponsorship of the Hillel Foundations enabled it to extend throughout the United States, eventually become international and to grow into a network of more than 500 campus student organizations.[19][20][21]

At virtually the same time as Hillel was being established, Sam Beber of Omaha, Neb., presented a plan in 1924 to B’nai B’rith for a fraternity for Jewish men in high school. The new organization was called Aleph Zadik Aleph in imitation of the Greek-letter fraternities from which Jewish youth were excluded. In 1925, AZA became the junior auxiliary of B’nai B’rith.

In 1940, B’nai B’rith Women adopted its own junior auxiliary for young women, B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, then a loose-knit group of organizations) and, in 1944, the two organizations became the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO).

B’nai B’rith has also been involved in Jewish camping for more than a half century. In 1953, B’nai B’rith acquired a 300-acre camp in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Originally named Camp B’nai B’rith, the facility would later be named B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp in honor of the early BBYO leader Anita Perlman and her husband, Louis. In 1976, a second camp was added near Madison, Wis. Named after the founder of AZA, the camp became known as B’nai B’rith Beber Camp. In 2010, Beber Camp became independent of B’nai B’rith. Perlman Camp functions as both a Jewish children’s camp and as a leadership training facility.[22]

In 1938 B’nai B’rith established the Vocational Service Bureau to guide young people into careers. This evolved into the B’nai B’rith Career and Counseling Service, an agency that provided vocational testing and counseling, and published career guides. In the mid-1980s, the program was dissolved or merged into other community agencies.[23]

Education and publications[edit]

Since 1886, B’nai B’rith has published B’nai B’rith Magazine, the oldest continually published Jewish periodical in the United States.[24][25]

B’nai B’rith also publishes program guides for local Jewish education programs and each year sponsors “Unto Every Person There is a Name”. This program includes community recitations of the names of Holocaust victims, usually on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.[26]

In 1973, the organization turned what had formerly been an exhibit hall at its Washington, D.C. headquarters into the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. The museum featured an extensive collection of Jewish ceremonial objects and art and, for decades featured the 1790 correspondence between President George Washington and Moses Seixas, sexton of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island.[27] Although the organization’s move from its own building to rented offices necessitated closing of the museum to public view, select pieces of the collection are still on display at B’nai B’rith’s current headquarters and are available for viewing by appointment.[28]

Serving the community[edit]

From its earliest days, a hallmark of the organization’s local efforts was service to the communities in which members reside. In 1852, that meant raising money for the first Jewish hospital in Philadelphia.[29] In the 21st century, these community service efforts range from delivering Jewish holiday packages of meals and clothing to the elderly and infirm, and distributing food and medicine to the Jewish community of Cuba.

With the graying of the American Jewish population, service to seniors became a major focus with the first of what was to become a network of 36 senior residence buildings in more than 27 communities across the United States and more internationally—making B’nai B’rith the largest national Jewish sponsor of housing for seniors. The U.S. facilities—built in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—provide quality housing to more than 6,000 men and women of limited income, age 62 and over, of all races and religions. Residents pay a federally mandated rent based upon income.[30]

The beginning of the 21st century also saw the senior service program expand and become the Center for Senior Services,[31] providing advocacy, publications and other services to address financial, legal, health, religious, social and family concerns for those over 50.

In recent years, B’nai B’rith has advocated for health care reform, Social Security and Medicare protection.

B’nai B’rith also includes, on its domestic agenda, tolerance issues such as advocating for hate crimes legislation as well as sponsoring a youth writing challenge, Diverse Minds. This annual writing contest asks high school students to create a children’s book dedicated to the message of ending intolerance and bigotry. Winners earn college scholarships and the publication and distribution of their books to schools and libraries in their communities.[32]

B’nai B’rith also sponsors the Enlighten America program, the centerpiece of which is a pledge that individuals can take to refrain from using slang expressions or telling jokes based on race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or physical or mental challenges that would serve to demean another.[33]

B’nai B’rith also produces and distributes “Smarter Kids – Safer Kids”, a booklet in both English and Spanish meant to guide parents through discussions with their children about potential dangers.[34]

International affairs[edit]

By the 1920s, B’nai B’rith membership in Europe had grown to 17,500—nearly half of the U.S. membership—and by the next decade, the formation of a lodge in Shanghai represented the organization’s entry into the Far East.[35] This international expansion was to come to a close with the rise of Nazism. At the beginning of the Nazi era, there were six B’nai B’rith districts in Europe. Eventually, the Nazis seized nearly all B’nai B’rith property in Europe.

B’nai B’rith Europe was re-founded in 1948. Members of the Basel and Zurich lodges and representatives from lodges in France and Holland who had survived the Holocaust attended the inaugural meeting. In 2000, the new European B’nai B’rith district merged with the United Kingdom district to become a consolidated B’nai B’rith Europe with active involvement in all institutions of the European Union. By 2005 B’nai B’rith Europe comprised lodges in more than 20 countries including the former Communist Eastern Europe.[36][37]

In response to what later become known as the Holocaust, in 1943 B’nai B’rith President Henry Monsky convened a conference in Pittsburgh of all major Jewish organizations to “find a common platform for the presentation of our case before the civilized nations of the world”.[38] During the next four years, the conference established the machinery that saved untold numbers of lives, assisted in the post-war reconstruction of European Jewish life and helped spur public opinion to support the 1947 partition decision granting Jews a share of what was then Palestine.

Just prior to the creation of the State of Israel, President Harry S. Truman, resisting pressure by various organizations, declined meetings with Jewish leaders. B’nai B’rith President Frank Goldman convinced fellow B’nai B’rith member Eddie Jacobson, long-time friend and business partner of the president, to appeal to Truman for a favor.[39]Jacobson convinced Truman to meet secretly with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann in a meeting said to have resulted in turning White House support back in favor of partition, and ultimately to de facto recognition of Israeli statehood.[40]

B’nai B’rith was present at the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco and has taken an active role in the world body ever since.[9] In 1947, the organization was granted non-governmental organizational (NGO) status and, for many years, was the only Jewish organization with full-time representation at the United Nations. It is credited with a leading role in the U.N. reversal of its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism.[41]

B’nai B’rith’s NGO role is not limited to the United Nations and its agencies. B’nai B’rith also has worked extensively with officials in the State Department, in Congress, and in foreign governments to support the efforts of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to combat anti-Semitism. With members in more than 20 Latin American countries, the organization was the first Jewish group to be accorded civil society status at the Organization of American States (OAS), where it has advocated for democracy and human rights throughout the region.[42][43] B’nai B’rith’s role in Latin America dates to the turn of the 20th century and grew considerably with the influx of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.

In addition to its advocacy efforts, B’nai B’rith maintains a program of community service throughout Latin America. In 2002, in cooperation with the Brother’s Brother Foundation, B’nai B’rith distributed more than $31 million worth of critically needed medicine, books and supplies to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela following the economic disaster that struck much of Latin America. Through 2011 the program had distributed more than $100 million in medicine and supplies.[44][45][46][47]

In addition to founding the Jerusalem Lodge in 1888, life in Israel has been a prime focus for the organization.[48] Among the Jerusalem lodge’s most noted contributions was the city’s first free public library, Midrash Abarbanel,[49] which became the nucleus of the National and University Library; the first Hebrew kindergarten in Jerusalem; and the purchase of land for a home for new immigrants, the village Motza near Jerusalem. In 1936 B’nai B’rith donated $100,000 to the Jewish National Fund to buy 1,000 acres in what was then Palestine, followed by an additional $100,000 in 1939. Following Israel’s declaration of independence, B’nai B’rith members in the United States sent several ships loaded with $4 million worth of food, clothing, medical supplies, trucks and jeeps to the port of Haifa.

In 1959, B’nai B’rith became the first major American Jewish organization to hold a convention in Israel.[50]

Only six weeks after the signing of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt in 1978, B’nai B’rith was the first Jewish group to visit Egypt at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat.

In 1980, nearly all nations removed their embassies from Jerusalem in response to the passage by the Knesset of the Jerusalem Law extending Israeli sovereignty over the entire city. B’nai B’rith responded with the establishment of the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem to serve as “the permanent and official presence of B’nai B’rith in Jerusalem”.[51][52]

The 1977 Hanafi siege[edit]

Main article: 1977 Hanafi Siege

On March 9–11, 1977, three buildings in Washington, D.C. were seized by 12 African American Muslim gunmen, led by Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, who took 149 hostages and killed a radio journalist and a police officer. After a 39-hour standoff, all other hostages were released from the District Building (the city hall; now called the John A. Wilson Building), B’nai B’rith headquarters, and the Islamic Center of Washington.

The gunmen had several demands. They “wanted the government to hand over a group of men who had been convicted of killing seven relatives – mostly children – of takeover leader Hamaas Khaalis. They also demanded that the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God be destroyed because they considered it sacrilegious.”[53]

Time magazine noted: “That the toll was not higher was in part a tribute to the primary tactic U.S. law enforcement officials are now using to thwart terrorists—patience. But most of all, perhaps, it was due to the courageous intervention of three Muslim ambassadors, Egypt‘s Ashraf Ghorbal, Pakistan‘s Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan and Iran‘s Ardeshir Zahedi.”[54]

Disaster Relief[edit]

B’nai B’rith has responded to natural and manmade disasters since 1865, when it assisted victims of a cholera epidemic in what was then Palestine.[55] B’nai B’rith later raised funds and distributed them to those affected by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Galveston, Texas, flood of 1900 and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Recently, the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund responded to the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the 2011 Japan tsunami and the multiple tornadoes and subsequent flooding that hit six states in the South and Midwest in 2011. B’nai B’rith also opened a disaster relief fund following the fires that raged through Mt. Carmel in northern Israel and has opened a fund to help victims of the worst drought to hit East Africa in more than 50 years.

Much of the money B’nai B’rith raises for disaster relief is focused on long-term rebuilding, meeting needs beyond what the initial responders provide. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf Coast-region in 2005, B’nai B’rith raised more than $1 million, distributing the money among various projects over a five-year span. The projects included rebuilding homes, houses of worship and restoring parks.

In Haiti, B’nai B’rith raised $250,000 for shoes, medicine, health supplies and other needs immediately following the January 2010 earthquake that struck the island nation.[56]The year following the disaster, B’nai B’rith and IsraAID initiated “Haiti Grows,” a program that trained farmers in theory and in practice over a six-month period. The farmers learned new agricultural techniques that allowed them to increase the number of crops they could grow as well as the yield of those crops.

Following Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012, B’nai B’rith’s Young Professional Network in New York immediately began assisting in the cleanup. Members descended upon the Rockaways, and over the course of several days helped remove debris and sand from buildings, extract moldy drywall and insulation, and pull out water damaged furniture and appliances from area homes. B’nai B’rith has also held and planned several fundraisers for future rebuilding projects.[57]

Awards and scholarships by B’nai B’rith[edit]

B’nai B’rith International bestows various recognitions and awards.

Presidential Gold Medal[edit]

The Presidential Gold Medal is awarded by B’nai B’rith every few years to honor the recipient’s commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Recipients have included David Ben-Gurion, John F. Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, Stephen Harper and Golda Meir. The Gold Medal has been given to former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky,[58][59] Australian Prime Minister John Howard,[60][61][62] former German Chancellor Willy Brandt and former U.S. presidents Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford andDwight D. Eisenhower.

B’nai B’rith Book Award[edit]

The award was established in 1970. The first recipient was Ronald Sanders for his work The Downtown Jews.[63]

Other awards[edit]

Other awards include the “Jewish Heritage Award” and “Award for Outstanding Contribution to Relations with the Jewish People”.

Scholarships[edit]

B’nai B’rith International also awards scholarships. This has been an important contribution from the organization. The first B’nai B’rith recipient to the University of Miami wasDagmar R. Henney, who later became known for her research in theoretical mathematics.

Presidents[edit]

Fraternal / sorority Orders around the world

Social or general fraternities and sororities, in the North American fraternity system, are those that do not promote a particular profession (as professional fraternities are) or discipline (such as service fraternities and sororities). Instead, their primary purposes are often stated as the development of character, literary or leadership ability, or a more simple social purpose. Some organizations in this list have a specific major listed as a traditional emphasis. These organizations are social organizations which cater to students in those majors. Other organizations listed have a traditional emphasis in a specific religion or ethnic background. Despite this emphasis, most organizations have non-discrimination membership policies.

Fraternity is usually understood to mean a social organization composed only of men, and sorority one of women, although many women’s organizations also refer to themselves as fraternities. For the purposes of this article, national also includes international organizations, and local refers to organizations that are composed of only one chapter. This list is not exhaustive and does not include local organizations that do not have Wikipedia articles.

International

Australia

Fraternities or lodges were an important part of Australian society in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. They were gradually replaced by “service clubs“, such asLions, Apex, Rotary, etc. By the end of the 20th century, all the fraternities had been wound up[clarification needed] except for the Freemasons and a few lodges of the Buffaloes. The reasons for their decline probably have something to do with generational change and bemusement at the secretive rites that all fraternities had, as the service clubs that succeeded them did fairly similar charitable work.

No general history has been written, but some of the many lodges that operated in the state of Victoria were:

  • Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes,
  • Druids,
  • Foresters,
  • Freemasons,
  • Odd Fellows ,

Of course in those sectarian times there had to be two different lodges for those of Irish descent:

Canada

Europe

South Africa

United States

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional Emphasis
Acacia (Chapters) AKAKIA 1904 NIC Masonic (Masonic membership no longer required)[1]
Adelphikos Αδελφικοσ 1913 Local, Grove City College Christian
Alpha Beta Chi ΑΒΧ 1941 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Alpha Chi Alpha ΑΧΑ 1919 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Alpha Chi Rho (Chapters) ΑΧΡ 1895 NIC Traditional
Alpha Delta ΑΔ 1847 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Alpha Delta Gamma (Chapters) ΑΔΓ 1924 NIC Jesuit
Alpha Delta Phi (Chapters) ΑΔΦ 1832 NIC Originally a secret literary society, now traditional
Alpha Epsilon Pi (Chapters) ΑΕΠ 1913 NIC Jewish
Alpha Gamma Omega ΑΓΩ 1927 Unaffiliated Christian
Alpha Gamma Rho (Chapters) ΑΓΡ 1904 NIC Agricultural
Alpha Iota Omicron ΑΙΟ 1998 Unaffiliated South Asian[2]
Alpha Kappa Lambda (Chapters) ΑΚΛ 1914 NIC Traditional
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ 1906 NIC, NPHC African-American
Alpha Phi Delta ΑΦΔ 1914 NIC Italian-American
Alpha Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΑΣΦ 1845 NIC Originally secret sophomore society, now traditional
Alpha Tau Omega (Chapters) ΑΤΩ 1865 NIC Founded on Christian principles, now traditional
Beta Chi Theta (Chapters) ΒΧΘ 1999 NIC, NAPA South Asian
Beta Epsilon Gamma Gamma Alpha Rho Sigma ΒΕΓΓΑΡΣ 1923 Local, Loyola University New Orleans Jesuit
Beta Kappa Gamma ΒΚΓ 1999 Unaffiliated Asian[3]
Beta Sigma Psi (Chapters) ΒΣΨ 1925 NIC Lutheran[4]
Beta Theta Pi (Chapters) ΒΘΠ 1839 NIC Traditional[5]
Beta Upsilon Chi ΒΥΧ 1985 Unaffiliated Christian
Bones Gate BG 1901 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Gamma Epsilon ΧΓΕ 1905 (1987) Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Heorot ΧH 1897 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Phi (Chapters) ΧΦ 1824 NIC Traditional
Chi Psi (Chapters) ΧΨ 1841 NIC Traditional
Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau ΓΣΤ 1871 NMGC Multicultural
Delta Chi (Chapters) ΔΧ 1890 NIC Originally a law fraternity, now traditional
Delta Epsilon Psi ΔΕΨ 1998 NIC South Asian
Delta Gamma Iota ΔΓΙ 1965 Unaffiliated national Traditional[6]
Delta Kappa Epsilon (Chapters) ΔΚΕ 1844 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Delta Lambda Phi ΔΛΦ 1986 NIC Gay, bisexual, progressive
Delta Rho Upsilon ΔΡΥ 1929 Local/Traditional
Delta Omega Epsilon ΔΩΕ 1985 Unaffiliated national Traditional[7]
Delta Phi (Chapters) ΔΦ 1827 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Delta Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΔΣΦ 1899 NIC Traditional/Social
Delta Tau Delta (Chapters) ΔΤΔ 1858 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Delta Theta Sigma ΔΘΣ 1906 Unaffiliated National Agricultural[8]
Delta Upsilon (Chapters) ΔΥ 1834 NIC Traditional
Epsilon Sigma Rho ΕΣΡ 1986 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[9]
FarmHouse (Chapters) FH 1905 NIC Agricultural
Gamma Omega Delta ΓΩΔ 1989 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[10]
Gamma Zeta Alpha (Chapters) ΓΖΑ 1987 NALFO Latino[11]
Iota Nu Delta ΙΝΔ 1994 NIC South Asian
Iota Phi Theta ΙΦΘ 1963 NIC, NPHC African-American
Kappa Alpha Order (Chapters) ΚΑ 1865 NIC Traditional/Social
Kappa Alpha Society (Chapters) ΚΑ 1825 NIC Originally literary society, traditional/social
Kappa Alpha Psi (Chapters) ΚΑΨ 1911 NIC, NPHC African-American
Kappa Delta Phi (Chapters) ΚΔΦ 1900 NIC Traditional
Kappa Delta Rho (Chapters) ΚΔΡ 1905 NIC Traditional
Kappa Kappa Kappa ΚΚΚ 1842 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Kappa Sigma (Chapters) ΚΣ 1869 Unaffiliated national Traditional[12]
Kappa Upsilon Chi ΚΥΧ 1993 Unaffiliated Christian[13]
Lambda Alpha Upsilon (Chapters) ΛΑΥ 1985 NALFO Latino
Lambda Chi Alpha (Chapters) ΛΧΑ 1909 NIC Traditional
Lambda Iota Society ΛΙ 1836 Local, University of Vermont Originally secret literary society, Traditional
Lambda Phi Epsilon (Chapters) ΛΦΕ 1981 NIC, NAPA Asian
Lambda Sigma Upsilon (Chapters) ΛΣΥ 1979 NALFO, NIC Latino
Lambda Theta Phi (Chapters) ΛΘΦ 1975 NALFO, NIC Latino
Lambda Upsilon Lambda (Chapters) ΛΥΛ 1982 NALFO Latino
Men of God 1999 UCCFS Christian[14]
Nu Alpha Kappa (Chapters) ΝΑΚ 1988 NIC Latino
Nu Sigma Beta ΝΣΒ 1937 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Omega Delta Phi (Chapters) ΩΔΦ 1987 NIC Latino
Omega Psi Phi (Chapters) ΩΨΦ 1911 NPHC African-American
Phi Beta Sigma (Chapters) ΦΒΣ 1914 NIC, NPHC African-American
Phi Delta Alpha ΦΔΑ 1884 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Phi Delta Gamma ΦΔΓ 1942 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Delta Psi ΦΔΨ 1977 Unaffiliated national African-American[15]
Phi Delta Theta (Chapters) ΦΔΘ 1848 NIC Originally nonsectarian, Traditional
Phi Epsilon Chi ΦEX 1943 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Eta Kappa ΦΗΚ 1906 Local, University of Maine Traditional
Phi Eta Mu ΦΗΜ 1923 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Gamma Delta (Chapters) FIJI 1848 NIC Traditional
Phi Iota Alpha (Chapters) ΦΙΑ 1931 NIC Latino
Phi Kappa Pi ΦΚΠ 1913 Unaffiliated, Canadian national Traditional[16]
Phi Kappa Psi (Chapters) ΦΚΨ 1852 NIC Originally service, traditional
Phi Kappa Sigma (Chapters) ΦΚΣ 1850 NIC Originally secret order, traditional
Phi Kappa Tau (Chapters) ΦΚΤ 1906 NIC Traditional
Phi Kappa Theta (Chapters) ΦΚΘ 1889 NIC Catholic
Phi Lambda Chi (Chapters) ΦΛΧ 1925 NIC Traditional
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia ΦΜΑ 1898 NIMC Music
Phi Mu Delta (Chapters) ΦΜΔ 1918 NIC Originally Commons Club, traditional
Phi Rho Eta ΦΡΗ 1994 Unaffiliated national African-American[17]
Phi Sigma Alpha (Chapters) ΦΣΑ 1928 CIPFI Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Phi Sigma Chi ΦΣΧ 1996 NMGC Multicultural[18]
Phi Sigma Gamma ΦΣΓ 1915-1916 Unaffiliated national Osteopathic Medicine
Phi Sigma Kappa (Chapters) ΦΣΚ 1873 NIC Traditional
Phi Sigma Nu ΦΣΝ 1996 Unaffiliated national Native American
Phi Sigma Phi ΦΣΦ 1988 NIC Traditional[19]
Pi Alpha Phi (Chapters) ΠΑΦ 1929 NAPA Asian
Pi Delta Psi (Chapters) ΠΔΨ 1994 NAPA Asian
Pi Kappa Alpha ΠΚΑ 1868 NIC Traditional
Pi Kappa Phi (Chapters) ΠΚΦ 1904 NIC Traditional
Pi Lambda Phi (Chapters) ΠΛΦ 1895 NIC Traditional
Psi Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΨΣΦ 1990 NMGC Multicultural
Psi Upsilon (Chapters) ΨΥ 1833 NIC Traditional
Seal and Serpent 1905 Local, Cornell University Traditional
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Chapters) ΣΑΕ 1856 NIC Traditional
Sigma Alpha Mu (Chapters) ΣΑΜ 1909 NIC Jewish
Sigma Beta Rho ΣΒΡ 1996 NIC, NAPA South Asian/Multicultural
Sigma Chi (Chapters) ΣΧ 1855 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Delta Alpha ΣΔΑ 1992 Unaffiliated National Latino
Sigma Lambda Beta (Chapters) ΣΛΒ 1986 NIC Latino
Sigma Nu (Chapters) ΣΝ 1869 NIC Originally anti-hazing, traditional
Sigma Phi Delta (Chapters) ΣΦΔ 1924 NIC Engineering
Sigma Phi Epsilon (Chapters) ΣΦΕ 1901 NIC Traditional
Sigma Phi Society ΣΦ 1827 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Sigma Pi (Chapters) ΣΠ 1897 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Tau Gamma (Chapters) ΣΤΓ 1920 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Thêta Pi ΣΘΠ 2003 Unaffiliated national Francophone Greek
Tau Delta Phi ΤΔΦ 1910 NIC Jewish Social
Tau Epsilon Phi (Chapters) ΤΕΦ 1910 NIC Jewish Social
Tau Kappa Epsilon (Chapters) ΤΚΕ 1899 NIC Traditional
Theta Chi (Chapters) ΘΧ 1856 NIC Traditional/Social
Theta Delta Chi (Chapters) ΘΔΧ 1847 NIC Originally secret society, traditional/Social
Theta Gamma ΘΓ 1912 Unaffiliated national Traditional
Theta Xi (Chapters) ΘΞ 1864 NIC Engineering, social
Triangle Fraternity (Chapters) TriangleDeltaT.png 1907 NIC Engineering, architecture, and Science
Trojan Knights 1921 Local, University of Southern California Traditional
Zeta Beta Tau (Chapters) ΖΒΤ 1898 NIC Originally Jewish, traditional (no religious affiliation)
Zeta Phi Rho ΖΦΡ 1995 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Zeta Psi (Chapters) ΖΨ 1847 NIC Traditional/social

Sororities and women’s fraternities[edit]

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional emphasis
Alpha Chi Omega ΑΧΩ 1885 NPC Originally music, now Traditional
Alpha Delta Chi ΑΔΧ 1925 Unaffiliated Christian
Alpha Delta Pi ΑΔΠ 1851 NPC Originally secret society, traditional
Alpha Epsilon Phi ΑΕΦ 1909 NPC Originally Jewish, traditional
Alpha Gamma Delta (Chapters) ΑΓΔ 1904 NPC Traditional
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ 1908 NPHC African-American
alpha Kappa Delta Phi aΚΔΦ 1990 NAPA Asian
Alpha Nu Omega ΑΝΩ 1988 UCCFS Christian
Alpha Omicron Pi ΑΟΠ 1897 NPC Traditional
Alpha Phi ΑΦ 1872 NPC Traditional
Alpha Phi Gamma ΑΦΓ 1994 NAPA Asian
Alpha Pi Omega ΑΠΩ 1994 Unaffiliated Native American
Alpha Pi Sigma ΑΠΣ 1990 NALFO Latina[20]
Alpha Sigma Alpha (Chapters) ΑΣΑ 1901 NPC Traditional
Alpha Sigma Kappa ΑΣΚ 1989 Unaffiliated Math, architecture, engineering, and science
Alpha Sigma Omega ΑΣΩ 1997 Unaffiliated Latina and Caribbean[21]
Alpha Sigma Rho ΑΣΡ 1998 NAPA Asian[22]
Alpha Sigma Tau ΑΣΤ 1899 NPC Traditional
Alpha Xi Delta ΑΞΔ 1893 NPC Traditional
Ceres 1984 Unaffiliated Agricultural[23]
Chi Omega (Chapters) ΧΩ 1895 NPC Traditional
Chi Upsilon Sigma ΧΥΣ 1980 NALFO Latina
Delta Chi Lambda ΔΧΛ 2000 Unaffiliated National Asian[24]
Delta Delta Delta ΔΔΔ 1888 NPC Traditional
Delta Gamma ΔΓ 1873 NPC Traditional
Delta Gamma Pi ΔΓΠ 1998 Unaffiliated Multicultural[citation needed]
Delta Kappa Delta ΔΚΔ 1999 NAPA South Asian
Delta Lambda Chi ΔΛΧ 2002 Unaffiliated Asian
Delta Phi Epsilon ΔΦΕ 1917 NPC Non-sectarian
Delta Phi Lambda ΔΦΛ 1998 NAPA Asian
Delta Phi Mu ΔΦΜ 1991 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Delta Phi Omega ΔΦΩ 1998 Unaffiliated national South Asian
Delta Psi Epsilon ΔΨΕ 1999 UCCFS Christian
Delta Sigma Chi ΔΣΧ 1996 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[25]
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ 1913 NPHC African-American
Delta Tau Lambda ΔΤΛ 1994 Unaffiliated national Latina
Delta Xi Nu ΔΞΝ 1997 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Delta Xi Phi ΔΞΦ 1994 NMGC Multicultural
Delta Zeta ΔΖ 1902 NPC Traditional
Eta Gamma Delta ΗΓΔ 1928 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Gamma Alpha Omega ΓΑΩ 1993 NALFO Latina
Gamma Eta ΓΗ 1995 NMGC Multicultural
Gamma Phi Beta ΓΦΒ 1874 NPC Traditional
Gamma Phi Omega ΓΦΩ 1991 Unaffiliated national Latina[26]
Gamma Rho Lambda ΓΡΛ 2003 Unaffiliated national LGBTQ[27]
Kappa Alpha Theta ΚΑΘ 1870 NPC Traditional
Kappa Beta Gamma ΚΒΓ 1917 Unaffiliated national Traditional
Kappa Delta ΚΔ 1897 NPC Traditional
Kappa Delta Chi ΚΔΧ 1987 NALFO Latina
Kappa Delta Phi National Affiliated Sorority ΚΔΦ 1977 Unaffiliated Traditional
Kappa Kappa Gamma ΚΚΓ 1870 NPC Traditional
Kappa Phi Gamma ΚΦΓ 1998 Unaffiliated national South Asian
Kappa Phi Lambda ΚΦΛ 1995 NAPA Asian
Kappa Phi Chi KΦX 1991 Local, Brooklyn College Traditional
Lambda Pi Chi ΛΠΧ 1988 NALFO Latina
Lambda Pi Upsilon ΛΠΥ 1992 NALFO Latina
Lambda Psi Delta ΛΨΔ 1997 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Sigma Gamma ΛΣΓ 1986 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Tau Omega ΛΤΩ 1988 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Theta Alpha ΛΘΑ 1975 NALFO Latina
Lambda Theta Nu ΛΘΝ 1986 NALFO Latina
Mu Alpha Phi ΜΑΦ 1927 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Mu Epsilon Theta ΜΕΘ 1987 Unaffiliated, national Catholic[28]
Mu Sigma Upsilon ΜΣΥ 1981 NMGC Multicultural
National Society of Pershing Angels 1962 Unaffiliated Military drill[29]
Omega Phi Beta ΏΦΒ 1989 NALFO Latina
Omega Phi Chi ΏΦΧ 1988 NMGC Multicultural
Phi Beta Chi ΦΒΧ 1978 Unaffiliated national Lutheran
Phi Mu (Chapters) ΦΜ 1852 NPC Traditional
Phi Sigma Rho ΦΣΡ 1984 Unaffiliated national Engineering
Phi Sigma Sigma (Chapters) ΦΣΣ 1913 NPC Non-sectarian
Pi Beta Phi (Chapters) ΠΒΦ 1867 NPC Originally secret, Traditional
Pi Lambda Chi ΠΛΧ 1994 Unaffiliated national Latina[30]
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi ΣΑΕΠ 1998 Unaffiliated national Jewish
Sigma Delta Tau ΣΔΤ 1917 NPC Non-sectarian
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ 1922 NPHC African-American
Sigma Iota Alpha ΣΙΑ 1990 NALFO Latina
Sigma Kappa ΣΚ 1874 NPC Traditional
Sigma Lambda Alpha ΣΛΑ 1990 NALFO Latina
Sigma Lambda Gamma (Chapters) ΣΛΓ 1990 Unaffiliated national Latina
Sigma Lambda Upsilon ΣΛΥ 1987 NALFO Latina
Sigma Omega Nu ΣΩΝ 1996 Unaffiliated national Latina[31]
Sigma Omega Phi ΣΩΦ 2008 Unaffiliated national “Aggressive” lesbian[32]
Sigma Omicron Pi ΣΟΠ 1930 NAPA Asian
Sigma Phi Omega ΣΦΩ 1949 Unaffiliated national Asian
Sigma Pi Alpha ΣΠΑ 2004 Unaffiliated Chicana/Latina[33]
Sigma Psi Zeta ΣΨΖ 1994 NAPA Asian
Sigma Sigma Rho ΣΣΡ 1998 NAPA South Asian
Sigma Sigma Sigma ΣΣΣ 1898 NPC Traditional
Theta Nu Xi ΘΝΞ 1997 NMGC Multicultural
Theta Phi Alpha ΘΦΑ 1912 NPC Originally catholic, traditional
Zeta Chi Phi ΖΧΦ 2003 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ 1920 NPHC African-American
Zeta Sigma Chi ΖΣΧ 1991 Unofficial national Multicultural
Zeta Tau Alpha ΖΤΑ 1898 NPC Traditional

Coeducational fraternities[edit]

Coeducational fraternities permit both male and female members. Occasionally coed groups use the term frarority.

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional emphasis
Alpha Nu Omega (Chapters) ΑΝΩ 1988 UCCFS Christian coed fraternity
Zeta Phi Zeta ΖΦΖ 2001 UCCFS Christian[34]
Alpha Delta Phi Society ΑΔΦ 1832 Unaffiliated, national Literary and traditional
Alpha Psi Lambda ΑΨΛ 1985 NALFO Latino
St. Anthony Hall (Delta Psi) ΔΨ 1847 Unaffiliated, national Literary and social
Delta Psi Alpha ΔΨΑ 1998 Unaffiliated, national Multicultural
Lambda Lambda Lambda ΛΛΛ 2006 Unaffiliated, national Traditional
Theta Delta Sigma ΘΔΣ 2001 Unaffiliated, national Multicultural
Alpha Theta ΑΘ 1920 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Delta Lambda Psi ΔΛΨ 2005 Local, University of California at Santa Cruz LBGTQ
Zeta Delta Xi ΖΔΞ 1852 Local, Brown University Traditional
Kappa Gamma Psi ΚΓΨ 1913 Local, Ithaca College Performing arts
Nu Alpha Phi ΝΑΦ 1994 Local, SUNY Albany Asian
Phi Tau ΦΤ 1905 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Psi Upsilon ΨΥ 1833 Local, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Traditional

Defunct national organizations[edit]

Organization Symbol Operated/Merged
Alpha Delta Theta ΑΔΘ 1919 – 1939, Phi Mu
Beta Phi Alpha ΒΦΑ 1919 – 1941, Delta Zeta
Delta Sigma Epsilon ΔΣΕ 1914 – 1956, Delta Zeta
Iota Alpha Pi ΙΑΠ 1903 – 1971
Kappa Phi Lambda ΚΦΛ 1862 – 1874
Lambda Omega ΛΩ 1915 – 1933, Delta Zeta
Pi Delta Kappa ΠΔΚ 1907 – 1913, Chi Omega
Pi Kappa Sigma ΠΚΣ 1894 – 1959 Sigma Kappa
Pi Lambda Sigma ΠΛΣ 1903 – 1959 Beta Phi Mu
Sigma Iota ΣΙ 1904 – 1931 Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Omega Pi ΦΩΠ 1922 – 1946 Delta Zeta
Phi Lambda Alpha ΦΛΑ 1919 – 1931 Phi Iota Alpha
Theta Kappa Nu ΘKN 1924 – 1939 Lambda Chi Alpha
Theta Upsilon ΘΥ 1921 – 1962 Delta Zeta

See also