03 MAY, 2024

These are difficult times. The yelling and screaming and chanting and horrible images. With antisemitism running rampant on campuses and in the streets. With Jews hiding their identities to help keep themselves safe.

At this precise moment in time. This story resonates with all of us.

“The world hasn’t gone mad,” said Brother Josh Fontak (Bentley, 2025). “It’s just that the people who are mad are the loudest.”

The president of AEPi’s Psi Beta chapter at Bentley was looking for a way to make a statement. “When you scroll through social media and see a post about a Jewish student getting assaulted on campus and all of the responses are watermelon emojis (a sign of Palestinian support) and people posting stuff like ‘Free Palestine’ and stuff like, ‘what about the genocide in Gaza?’ It’s infuriating. Not just minimizing but denying what happened in history, what happened in the Holocaust. With Yom HaShoah right around the corner, it seemed like the right time to do this.”

Brother Fontak is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, but he never had a chance to speak with his grandparents about their experiences. “My grandparents were interviewed as a part of Steven Spielberg’s Shoah project, so I got to hear their stories about the Holocaust…probably in more detail than if they had spoken to me directly. It’s always been important to me.”

The Philadelphia native and his chapter Brothers planned a Holocaust Remembrance Day event – We Walk to Remember – where students would walk through campus silently and then meet and commemorate those who were lost. Brother Fontak called on Bentley’s Greek system to join with AEPi at the event. “At a meeting of all the other fraternity and sorority presidents, I told them that we wanted to do this and that AEPi doesn’t want to be alone. I told them that we need their support now more than ever. Every other fraternity and sorority president told me that they were absolutely here for us. Every one of them showed up at our event with a lot of their chapter members.”