This past January, the World Jewish Congress announced to the world their newest project: the #WeRemember campaign.
The campaign is designed to pay homage to the Holocaust; the genocide that claimed the lives of six million Jewish men, women and children. As per their values, proudly partnering with them was the Jewish sorority at QC, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi.
In a YouTube video with a thousand views, World Jewish Congress explained how the campaign came to fruition. In an essential effort to keep the history alive, and to pass it down to future generations, organizations such as WJC are rushing to record as many first-hand testimonies as possible.
“85 years ago, the Nazis began their attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. As the remaining Holocaust Survivors are passing away, it is now OUR responsibility to make sure the world never forgets.”
According to Chayla Furlong, a member of the National Board of SAEPi, the sorority came into contact with WJC after they were “…approached by an alumna of our Binghamton chapter who wanted to connect us to an [Alpha Epsilon Pi] alumni from her school… working at WJC. The AEPi alumni, Yoni Hammerman, wanted to discuss engaging SAEPi sisters around the country in the #WeRemember campaign.”
“For SAEPi, this campaign meant that our sorority and our sisters would have the opportunity to join and participate in the WJC global campaign to remember the Holocaust and stand up against hatred in all of its forms,” says Furlong.
“Less than 75 years after the horrors of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is growing, and genocide still exists. It’s unacceptable, and SAEPi feels that — as an organization of Jewish women — we have the obligation to educate others on the horrors of the Holocaust, genocide and xenophobia at-large.”
She continued, “This WJC initiative allowed us to publicly take a stand and back a message that our sisters support regardless of what campaigns we decide to participate in.”
In addition to World Jewish Congress, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi is a proud partner to multiple Jewish organizations, including “…Jewish National Fund, Birthright Israel, American Jewish World Service, Milstein Family Foundation, American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Alpha Epsilon PI and more.”
The reason why the sorority affiliates with so many communities is not a financial one, but rather because it “…seeks out programming and leadership development opportunities for our sisters, and create mutually beneficial projects and initiatives with our partners.”
One of the aforementioned participants is Dani Bressler, a physical education major and dance minor, a junior at Queens College and member of QC’s SAEPi’s Sigma Chapter. Currently she holds the Recruitment Chair and Paraphernalia Chair positions.
In retrospect, she believed the campaign was a success and a necessity for the sake of keeping Judaism alive in the generations to come.
“…When all the survivors are unfortunately passing away it is so important for younger generations to know the struggle we have. We are always able to conquer [evil] and it’s important for especially Jewish generations of the younger ages to know about the Holocaust and to learn how to address it so that if any hate comes they’re able to step up and speak about it.”
As the “’Jewish First, Greek Second’ sorority”, many sorors can agree with “participating in Jewish initiatives” being “an honor and a privilege [for them].”
Dani continued, “We have a responsibility as a Jewish sorority to engage the rest of the Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) community in causes that affect the Jewish people, and help spread positive messages about our community and other minority communities.”
To get involved with the World Jewish Congress, whether it be through their social media platforms or partnering with them through one of their programs, visit http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/get-involved.
As for Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, Chayla confirmed that “Yes! SAEPi is excited to join in on the #WeRemember campaign in future years, and we will continue to discuss and flush out additional partner project opportunities as areas of mutual interest arise between SAEPi and WJC.”