Monmouth College’s Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity is hosting a very timely program, unwittingly scheduled months in advance.
The fraternity is using a ZBT Heritage Grant to host speaker Alexander Katz on November 5 at 12 p.m. in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium on campus, 700 E. Broadway in Monmouth. The free event is open to the public and was scheduled months before the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7.
Katz is a training and recruitment manager at URBN Playground and has a doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Hartford. He serves as the adviser for the Eta Omicron chapter of ZBT at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. He’s also the son of Martin Katz, ’72, who was president of the fraternity chapter that eventually became the Delta Lambda chapter of ZBT when he was a student at Monmouth.
Katz’s presentation is entitled “Antisemitism: Past and Present,” and will review and analyze past antisemitism experiences as well as look at the current and future landscape of the issue.
“The idea is finding out the ‘why’ of antisemitism, so what in the past has led up to this moment, and then we’re probably going to be talking a little bit about how the future looks for Jewish populations,” said ZBT chapter president Corey Pevitz, ’24 of Naperville, Ill. “I’m really excited to bring in someone with this background that probably Monmouth has not seen in a very long time, and also to continue ZBT’s traditions and legacies and demographic as a Jewish organization and not losing that.”
Acts of antisemitism have been on the rise in the U.S., according to recent reports from independent groups. Although just slightly more than 2% of people in the United States identify as Jewish, over 51% of religious hate crimes are against Jewish people, according to a March report from the FBI.
“I believe that experience is the number one educator, and when we’re able to put people in a situation in which they can experience first-hand the traditions of Judaism, they’ll find it less discomforting and disconcerting and find it more understandable,” said Pevitz.
ZBT has held exchanges with Temple Sholom in nearby Galesburg, which Pevitz said has been a fulfilling experience for the chapter. They held events like Powderpuff and Egg-a-Zeeb to raise money for Jewish Women International, an organization that supports Jewish women.
“Egg-a-Zeeb is one of our favorites,” said Pevitz. “That’s where we get a ton of eggs, and we get a big old tarp, and we have the opportunity for people to purchase eggs and crack them on top of our brothers’ heads.”