Founders’ Day 2015

October 23, 2015
Dear Sisters,
Tomorrow AEPhis from Atlantic to Pacific are celebrating Founders' Day and the sisterhood that was created when Helen Phillips, Ida Beck, Rose Gerstein, Augustina "Tina" Hess, Lee Reiss, Rose Salmowitz and Stella Strauss gathered in Brooks Hall at Barnard College in 1909. At that time, sororities would not allow Jewish women to join their organizations; they were discriminated against and forced to create separate organizations. The discrimination was frustrating for our founders and it fostered the idea of forming their own organization, promising friendship and sisterhood.  Out of a desire for camaraderie, mutual understanding and respect for the high ideals of womanhood, Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded.  They envisioned a group providing true friendship and support, a home away from home for their members, actively serving their community and helping each woman achieve her greatest potential.   These ideas were the foundation upon which Alpha Epsilon Phi began and are as important today as they were in 1909.   
Alpha Epsilon Phi continues to provide the same experience for its members as it did over 100 years ago.  Being an AEPhi sister is about friendship, encouragement, support, and development.  Our members represent our organization by living the ideals and values of our founders.  We still hold the same visions and feel the same heartbeat that our founders felt.
So much has changed since October 24th, 1909, but many traditions and beliefs remain the same today.  We, as an organization, have always focused on the development of exemplary women through membership in our sorority. Exemplary women promote sisterhood, serve the community, participate in activities that promote personal and intellectual growth and maintain a connection to our Jewish values.
Our founders had the vision to create our sorority, entrusting its future to members and leaders they would never meet.   What makes AEPhi so special - then and now - is the sum of the talents that our individual members bring to the good of the organization.  We are unique in our individuality but united in our common commitments. As sisters of AEPhi we should continuously strive to be exemplary women as it is who we are and what we do.  Our founders would expect nothing less from us.
As we reflect on the beginnings of our beloved organization, I find it fitting to share a poem titled "What Would Our Founders Think."  This is a personal favorite and hope you will enjoy it and use it often.
Also for your reference, attached is a copy of the AEPhi Founders' Day Ceremony .  Since this is a ceremony and not a ritual, it is public and can be shared with non-members.   If you cannot conduct the ceremony on Founders' Day, please do so in the coming week.  Also, don't forget to take pictures at these events and send them to so we can tweet them and post them on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!
I encourage you to make October 24th special and reflect on how you live the ideals of our founding principles and the values in our ritual each and every day.   Amidst the constant change and unpredictability of the future, it is these values that are the sacred bond that connects all AEPhi sisters, despite age or location.
Don't you want to show your commitment to ensuring that the vision of our founders lives on for generations come? You can do so by supporting the Alpha Epsilon Phi Foundation Founders' Day Challenge. It's quite easy to participate, simply go to to make your gift. Any first-time donation of $19.09 or more will be matched, thanks to the generosity of several loyal donors, with an additional $66. Also, see which chapter or colony is leading in the number of first time donors and total donors
Take time to reflect on your favorite AEPhi memories and what you have gained as a member of our organization.  Think about how you can contribute to the continued success of our sorority.  Pay homage to our founders on this special day and reach out to your sisters and in your communities to celebrate this momentous occasion.   Understand and respect our history and heritage and celebrate the unique and everlasting sisterhood of which we are a part.  Remember that each of us has the ability to leave a legacy with our actions.
We are not AEPhis only for today, but for our lifetime.  The future of AEPhi lies in all our hands.  Do your part to ensure another 106 years of phantastic AEPhi friendships.


Debbie Friedman 

National President