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Celebrating 125 Years of Jewish Fraternal Excellence

On December 29, 1898,  a well-respected university professor gathered a group of rabbinical studies students from several New York City universities to form a Zionist youth society. During this brief period, the society came to serve as a fraternal body for college students who were excluded from joining existing fraternities because because they were Jewish.

By November 1901, the society had expanded rapidly and members agreed that the promotion of Judaism was equally as important as Zionism. In October 1906, Z.B.T. formally changed its name to Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and ratified its focus to that of a college-based social fraternity for Jewish students instead of a Zionist society. In 1954, the requirement to be Jewish was removed and since that time ZBT has been open to all male-identifying college students regardless of race, creed, faith or color who are accepting of our Jewish heritage and values.

ZBT History

As a celebration of 125 years of ZBT’s founding, take a look back at some of the most important milestones in the history of the world’s first Jewish fraternity. Read more details at Our History or watch this video for some of the most important highlights from the past 125 years.

Through two World Wars, the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement, anti-fraternity sentiment in the 1960s and ’70s and political turmoil today —ZBT remains committed to justice, truth, social responsibility and Jewish values.

Throughout its first 125 years, ZBT has been a home to thousands …

Here’s to Our Fraternity!

ZBT has hosted celebrations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Dallas in fall 2023 to celebrate this milestone, and the anniversary culminated with the official date on Founders Day on December 29, 2023. The kickoff to the celebration was enjoyed by many brothers and guests in New York City, the heart of our Fraternity’s birthplace, as part of 2023 International Convention in August.

Brotherhood for a Lifetime!

Over the next 125 years – and beyond – we will continue to fight for a safer, more equitable world with less hate and more Brotherly Love.

Fall 2023 Alumni Receptions