This is a letter from founding Aleph, Justin Isaac Newman, retyped (found from the Sixth Edition of the Traditions Packet).
The Seuss Story
On September 26th, 1991, Morris Adler AZA #1855 conducted a board meeting. The 1991 Summer board consisted of Aleph Godol Justin Newman, Aleph S'gan Brian Gitlin, Aleph Moreh Kevin Schwartz, Aleph Corresponding Mazkir Craig Gilford, Aleph Recording Mazkir Doron Holan, Aleph Gizbor Lowell Doppelt, Aelph Sopher Assaf Resnick, Aleph Historian Shotare Stuart Ort, and Aleph Kohen Godol Joel Papo.
Some chapter problems were being discussed such as communications, leadership, and non-involvement. We brainstormed and came up with a list of ideas. Big Aleph/Little Aleph, co-officers, prospective overnights, 4 month terms, committee work, start a new chapter, consistent community service events, more informal gatherings, committes to call new Alephs, kidnap events, celebrate everyone's birthday, and create a Mo-Ad council.
Of all these ideas, the idea of starting a new chapter sparked something in me. This concept has been around for as long as I can remember, and usually I would be the first one to bat it down. This time, I thought about it and it sounded like an interesting plan.
After the meeting, Dan Appleman (Morris Adler's advisor), Brian Gitlin, and I spent a couple of hours pondering the idea. We questioned who would do it and other such technicalities. The three of us agreed that if it were to be done, it would have to be done in a friendly manner. This would result in both chapters succeeding, while still remaining friends. A failed attempt a few years back to start a chapter named Dr. Robert Levenson (Dr. Bobs) AZA made us aware of the touchy relationships that two closely located brother chapters could experience. Dr. Bobs was basically a stagnant chapter for about 5 years until it disbanded. They did not receive the attention needed to become a self sufficient chapter. Both chapters shared recruiting territory, which helped add to the failure.
After some further discussion, I decided that if it were to happen, then I would like to be a part of it.
The next evening was Advisor Appreciation Night. After the festivities of the evening, Jason Doppelt (The Council Aleph Moreh and Aleph of Mo-Ad), Brian Gitlin, Dan Appleman, Steve Kline (Mo-Ad's advisor), and I went back to my house to further explore this concept.
At this meeting, Joel Papo and Dan Appleman decided to join this venture. Both Dan and Joel felt that they could do more for the new chapter than they could do for Morris Addler. Then we discussed some fine details.
We decided that the base of the new chapter would be in Sunnyvale and Cupertino. Morris Addler Alephs who live there now would have a choice of which chapter they want to be in. They needed to decide by October 20, 1991, the date of elections. This was to prevent Alephs from losing an election and then deciding to switch, in spite of AZA.
On October 3rd 1991, a regular Morris Adler business meeting was used solely to discuss the new chapter. Two hours of open discussion were followed by an almost unanimous vote.
On October 12th, before a Mo-Ad event, all of the Cupertino and Sunnyvale Alephs were invited to discuss a name for the new chapter. WE came up with, Joseph Korret AZA, Judea AZA, Natan Yahoo AZA, Moses AZA, Leonard Nernoy AZA, Sammy Davis Jr. AZA, Mel Brooks AZA, and Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel AZA. Dr Seuss was the obvious choice.
The next step was to compile a list of Mo-Ad Alephs who were interested in switching. They were: Joel Papo; Brett Kociol; Aloni Kramer; Michael Monarch; Assaf Resnik; Matt Solnit; Alex Scherbakovsky; Adam Lipman; Eyal Soha; Josh Parees; and Justin Newman. They, as well as Josh Kashinsky, Dubi Mor, and Mark Wald, became the charter Alephs of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel AZA #195.
Elections came up quickly and the departing Alephs were allowed to vote. I was elected as Aleph Kohen Godol for the Winter 1991-1992 term.
The following weekend was Judaism Education Convention. Mo-Ad (including the Seuss men), dressed up at each meal. As far as the council was concerned, we were still part of MoAd. The first council event that we were an official AZA chapter was at Fraternity Weeken (November 8th – 10th, 1991), which was attended by 6 Seuss Alephs.
The day after JEC was Mo-Ads installation ceremony. After the traditional new board/ old board dinner, Morris Adler, JSZ, and parents met at Beth David to conduct the ceremony. Following the installing and uninstalling of the officers, we engaged in a spectacular induction ceremony for the Alephs of Dr. Seuss. Dan Appleman, our advisor, led a very inspirational and touching induction by first calling myself and Josh Kashkinsky up to the podium. This signified the oldest Aleph and the newest Aleph (Josh joined that evening). The two of us lit the rest of the Alephs' candles as they came up.
As the Alephs of Dr. Seuss whole heartedly sung the first official rendition of Seuss on the Loose, our chapter cheer, Mo-Ad also gave a rousing version of Wam Bam. Then, both chapters joined together to sin an intense chorus of Up You Men. The ceremony was very fraternal and special to the Seuss Alephs.
For Tomorrow and Today
Aleph Justin Isaac Newman