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Brotherhood Basics

Being a brother of ZBT is the greatest privilege you’ll ever earn — we believe that our brothers earn their membership every day. Zeta Beta Tau prides itself that our brotherhood is built upon equality and that all brothers share equal rights and responsibilities from the beginning.

All ZBTs should: Live the Ritual. Commit to our Precepts, Mission and Credo. Be a gentleman.

It’s forever great to be a ZBT. Here’s more on what that means.

Who We Are

The world's first Jewish fraternity

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity was inspired by Richard J. H. Gottheil, a professor of languages at Columbia University and a leader in the early American Zionist movement. On December 29, 1898, Professor Gottheil gathered together a group of Jewish students from several New York City universities to form a Zionist youth society. The society was called Z.B.T. By 1903 the clear need for a Greek-letter fraternity open to Jewish students prompted Z.B.T. to change its emphasis and to become Zeta Beta Tau.

First fraternity to abolish pledging

Zeta Beta Tau is proud to be the first fraternity that abolished pledging in 1989.  Zeta Beta Tau prides itself that our brotherhood is built upon equality and that all brothers share equal rights and responsibilities from the beginning. This also places emphasis on the fact that ZBT is a lifelong brotherhood.

Brotherhood for a Lifetime

ZBT offers a rich Brotherhood for a Lifetime experience for all brothers, from new initiates on Day 1 through many ages of alumni.  Zeta Beta Tau teaches us how to live with great energy, strength and passion. The traditions of our Fraternity are what bind together the many generations of Zeta Beta Tau brothers across the globe. Sharing in the practices, letters and Ritual of the organization creates a powerful connection among brothers.

How We Operate

Financial commitment

Once initiated into the Fraternity, every brother is responsible for a one-time new initiate fee and then returning brother dues each year he is an undergraduate brother.

  • 2023-2024 Fees and Dues to ZBT International Headquarters. Please note that your chapter may charge additional fees for local or campus activities and needs. Only the amount listed in the document above goes to ZBT International.
  • This infographic offers a greater understanding of where international dues are spent and how they are broken down. We encourage brothers and families to review all the information and contact ZBT International Headquarters with any questions, comments, or concerns. We work hard to provide top-notch programming and servicing to our undergraduate and alumni brothers.
  • The majority of the dues and fees paid by chapters and individuals goes to insurance coverage and emergency response assistance. A smaller percentage goes to fraternity operations in areas such as chapter support, education programs, recruitment and marketing of ZBT .

Individual groups may require other financial commitments, especially in regards to housing. Contact your chapter’s Finance Director for information.

Academic expectations

To be a part of the fraternity community as an undergraduate, our men need to excel in and out of the classroom.

  • ZBT requires a minimum grade-point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale for each individual brother and chapter, or we follow campus or Interfraternity Council requirements, whichever is higher.
  • Chapters/prospective chapters select an Academic Chairman who is required to write an academic plan that is submitted to ZBT International Headquarters. The chairman also supervises study hours, assists brothers in finding tutors when needed, rewards brothers for improving in academics and monitors GPAs.

Brotherhood Quality Standards

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity is governed by an International Constitution and Code, approved by international leadership. These governing documents outline the function of the Fraternity and set the standards for brothers. Important for undergraduates to learn are the Brotherhood Quality Standards included in the Code.

Having reasonable standards for each brother is critical for the survival and success of any fraternity. Chapters and prospective chapters should review and discuss these standards each semester. Brotherhood Quality Standards ensure that brothers earn the privilege to be ZBTs. Brothers also know what they can expect of one another, thus promoting unity.  Chapters may add additional standards over and above those stated here, so long as they apply to all brothers and are approved by the Fraternity.

Download and save the Brotherhood Quality Standards.

Action Items for New Brothers

Welcome! Congratulations on your decision to join our Brotherhood for a Lifetime.

As soon as you are initiated, please work with your Chapter President and Operations Director to:

  • Complete your registration for myZBT, or portal.zbt.org. Please ensure your personal information is completed in full and up to date.
  • Once logged in, click on the Plaid logo (pictured left), and enter the resource center. Look for the required modules named Tightrope and Highwire.

Access to this programming is made possible in part by the generous support of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. To learn more about your Foundation, please visit zbtfoundation.org.

It’s Great to be a ZBT

What brothers get

Fraternity membership is an accelerator for life education, where brothers learn leadership, organization, management, sales, project execution, budgeting, communication and other skills. ZBT brothers are committed to community service and engagement, to being servant-leaders on campus and in their home areas.

Most importantly, ZBT’s discover healthy interpersonal relationships and personal development. The bonds of brotherhood are forever. Fraternity membership is a fun and functional social outlet for the high-stress campus environment. Studies have proven that fraternity members have better mental health and better life outcomes than non-affiliated college alumni.

Hear directly from ZBT brothers on what this means for them.

Rights and privileges

Immediately after initiation, ZBT brothers have the right to fully participate in all activities, meetings, events and governance of the chapter and the Fraternity. Brothers are privileged to wear ZBT letters and the ZBT Pin with respect and pride. An initiate into the Fraternity is always called brother, and in return, he offers the same title of respect to his peers in the chapter.

  • Brothers have the privilege to be part of THE JOURNEY, ZBT’s brotherhood program, that includes a wide scope of personal and professional development opportunities alongside traditions like a Big-Little Brother pairing and brotherhood bonding retreats.
  • All ZBTs can participate in programs and experiences offered by ZBT International Headquarters. Meeting brothers from around the world is one of the most empowering, unique parts of being in a fraternity.
  • ZBT offers a Resource Center with additional information to support your personal development. Contact ZBT staff for assistance accessing these resources.

Your journey

Joining a fraternity is an investment in your future.  Brothers get back as much as they put into their ZBT experience.

  • Undergraduate brothers are expected to actively participate in chapter operations, ideally serving in at least a committee role, supporting philanthropy and service events, attending programs and meetings and more. Fraternity thrives when all brothers play a role.
  • Ready to connect to brothers outside your campus or to meet alumni in your career field? Follow ZBT’s international social media and read the brotherhood magazine, the Digital Deltan. We also sponsor encourage initiates to join the closed groups for brothers on Facebook and LinkedIn.

questions about a specific chapter or campus?

Chapter Support

ZBT has subject area experts to support all aspects of fraternity life. But if you are unsure where to start or have a question specific to a campus, email chaptersupport@zbtnational.org or complete the request form and we’ll have the best staffer respond.

Parents and family members should review the general information on supporting a Fraternity life experience here.


  • “I am honored to be part of a brotherhood that prides itself on its values. I see this whenever I meet a brother, whether current or alumni, and know that they are a man of good character. I have confidence in our brothers to live with Social Responsibility in their minds and Brotherly Love in their hearts. Having a global network of like-minded and good-hearted brothers gives me the motivation to achieve my goals within ZBT and all aspects of my life.”

    Eli L. Weitzman

    Tulane University 2019