Tau Epsilon Chi

The History of Tex Sorority:

In 1921, a group of eight girls started a social club. Within a year, a constitution had been ratified, a seal drawl up and a motto and colors adapted. The color black would stand for the past and the gold for the life-giving qualities of the sun, charity, and cheerfulness. This was the beginning of the sorority.

On February 16, 1934, a charter was granted by the state of New Jersey to the new Tau Epsilon Chi Sorority. The charter provided for expansion and states five purposes of the organization, including aiding Jewish interests to benefit the sorority, that TEX should be synonymous with Tau Epsilon Chi, and that the motto should be Truth and Eternal Comradeship. Atlantic City was the birthplace and Gertrude Haskill the first president. Other members included Ruth Gash, Sylvia Zimmerman, Lillian Nemcoff, and Evelyn Berger. The foremothers inducted pledges and had dances causing TEX to grow in leaps and bounds.

The first chapter's name was Alpha, but in 1943, the chapter split into two separate groups. In the Autumn of 1934, Eleanor Gerber became president of the national organization and plans for the first convention were discussed. As Grand Council President, Eleanor inducted the first Philadelphia Chapter, Gamma, in Overbrook Park during 1934. Selma Grayboyes saw the first convention, held in Atlantic City, as Grand Council President in 1935. Soon, the Zeta Chapter of West Philadelphia was inducted. Zeta won the first Best Chapter award in 1942. In 1944, Zeta sponsored the first annual Christmas Eve Formal.

Many girls joined other chapters. In 1936, plans for a North Philadelphia chapter were made. In 1940, this chapter, Eta, was inducted, and won many awards in the years to come. In 1937, Delta Chapter in South Jersey was discussed and ultimately inducted. This chapter too was to receive many awards, including a Five Years of Excellence Award in 1968, the first of its kind. Plans for expansion were again discussed in 1938, under Ruth Blum, Ruthy Freedman, and Jeanne Weinstein. Epsilon Chapter was inducted in Waterbury, Connecticut. It thrived through 1942. In 1939, a meeting was held in Philadelphia for the purpose of ratifying a new constitution. This was accomplished on May 7, 1939. At Convention that year, the Theta Chapter was inducted as a infant chapter. In 1940, this Germantown chapter became a full-fledged chapter. Iota Chapter, in New York, was inducted in that same year. 1941 saw the start of Lambda Chapter in Center City, Philadelphia and later in Girls' High. A Springfield chapter also began in that year. Convention 1942, under President Jerry Ginsburg, saw the first cup awarded. This was the year of war, and TEX joined other organizations in helping the American cause. The Grand Council President was Helen Weiss in 1943. There were ten chapters at that time; Alpha, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Eta, Theta, Lambda, Zeta, Iota, and the Springfield chapter. It was then decided Convention would be strictly an all girl affair. The first chapter dues were imposed to help the poor treasury.

The First Spring Frolic was held in 1945 at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. During 1950, TEX had an opening affair worked with AJA, and distributed pledge books and newspapers. The Grand Council President at that time was Janet Bush. Around 1951, Kappa Chapter in Wilmington, Delaware was inducted. Kappa annually sponsored the Stardust Ball, the first one was held in 1952 under Harriet Shulman. Estelle Tobin was the next Grand Council President. Under Tobin's leadership, the sorority formed a sports league. The TEX bear became the official mascot in 1955, with Texitiger replacing it in 1968. In 1956, Barbara Gerstein drew up an officers' guidebook which was revised by Fern Schoenberg and later Bobbie Kaplan. The best sorority award was initiated in that year. In 1958, under Debbie Pincus, Convention was held at Grossingers in New York's Catskill Mountains. The next year, Esther Sofran's Grand Council gave two more awards, Honorary Best Sororority Member, and Most Achieved Chapter. Barbara Rubin, the first recipient of Honorary Best Sorority Member was also the first Grand Council President to be re-elected, serving from 1961-1963. Sorority merchandise was sold and the girls worked closely with A.J.A. An Alumnae Chairwoman was appointed, but little work was done with promoting an association. A luncheon was held in September of 1962 during Frani Ostroff's presidency. She had started the traditional scrapbook, and for the first time Honorary Best Chapter was awarded. Harriet Schwartz, President 1963-1964, amended the Constitution, redesigned the sweatshirts and decals, and distributed a newspaper at Convention, which was at Raleigh in the Catskills of New York. Sigma Chapter in Abington was also born that year.

Fern Schoenberg, in 1964-1965 modernized the sorority. The Grand Council Board of 14 members, one from each chapter was formed. Fern stressed expansion and spirit. She wrote the now traditional The Meaning of Sorority and renamed the best president's cup the JFK Award. A Best Vice President's award, along with charity, religious, and expansion awards, were instituted. Programs were planned for Grand Council meetings and mimeographed agendas were distributed. Zeta, from Wilkes-Barre was inducted. Also inducted was Omega Chapter from Brooklyn, New York. Linda Goodman was president from 1965-1966. At Convention, Alpha in Greater Northeast Philadelphia was inducted. In 1971, Alpha was the second recipient of the Five Years Excellence Award. Iota Chapter of Bala Cynwyd, was inducted that same year, as was Upsilon Chapter of Dresher, PA. With Josie Denenberg as president from 1966-1967, Omicron in Silver Springs, Maryland was inducted, as was Sigma Phi in Levittown, Pennsylvania. When Beth Brandolph became Grand Council President, Bobbie Kaplan was appointed the first national Peace Corps Chairwoman. The position of scholarship was also added to the Board. Pledge rules and the constitution were revised.

Zeta Chi was inducted. Bobbie Kaplan led the Grand Council from 1968-1969. Nancy Goldman became secretary-treasurer when Judi Becker resigned her post. A successful Alumnae luncheon was held at the Shack as organized by Wendy Slotnikoff. TEX girls corresponded with our Peace Corps school in Ghana, sold trees in Israel, and became well-known through the efforts of Jodi Goldstein. Chapter awards that year were given at its Closing Affair as an incentive to work the entire year. Two vice presidents, Wendy Slotnikoff and Frani Kaufman were elected to lessen the load.

Mimi Rose was Grand Council President from 1969-1970. Pledging was made like a separate club. In fact the first national Pledge Affair was held in November, and was greatly successful. An Alumnae Affair was held December 21 of that year. Grand Council 1970-1971, under Frani Kaufman, brought many changes and innovations to the sorority. December Affair, sponsored by Eta Chapter, was enlarged to involve a sleep-over. Many extraneous board positions were dropped, such as Religious, Scholarship, Sunshine, and Peace Corps. The Grand Council treasurer took over Ways and Means. An outstanding Pledge Mistress Award was given for the first time. A march was planned by Joellyn Dorkin, Charity Chairman, and Gert Feldhendler, Miss TEX, for the Ronald Bruce Nipon Association, which brought in about $500 of the $3,000 the sorority raised. In all, it was a successful and united year.

Grand Council President in the 1971-1972 sorority year was Joanne Sherman. This was a year of rebuilding. The foundations were laid for expansion into New Brunswick, New Jersey and Huntingdon Valley, PA. The trend of apathy during the last few years seemed to reverse itself. Many revisions were made in pledging, and the Constitution. TEX began to adjust to the future. 1974-1975 saw Grand Council President Jone Frater with Vice President Carla Winit, Secretary Steffi Snyder and Treasurer Edye Fisher.TEX grew strong with Delta, Eta, Alpha and a couple of sisters in Canada. Convention was held in the Poconos and a new Grand Council Board was sworn in. Closing Affair luncheon was a huge success as was Spring Frolic at the Fox Croft Country Club. TEX stood tall for the next ten years.

In 1997-1998, Beverly Kauffman-Grossman, Hara Lowe-Wagman, and Edye Fisher-Discount rebuilit TEX Sorority after a devastating lack of leadership with a new first chapter in Northeast Philadelphia. Cheryl Blair had done an amazing job as president. This chapter remained prosperous for a year and ran a very successful affair as well as a sleepover dance. Also in 1997, three chapters formed in Bensalem, South Jersey and Holland. Lindsay Bagell was elected president of Delta in New Jersey while Rachel Wagman was elected president of Alpha in Holland. In 1998, Gamma chapter, located in Northeast Philadelphia became a full-fledged chapter under Rachel Luber, which was the chapter that had the most girls show up for an informational meeting. In 1999, Delta reoranized itself with a new president, Lauren Freedman. Alpha chapter inducted more new pledges throughout the year than any other chapter. Alpha chapter also distributed a chapter newsletter. This year saw the first mother-daughter affair, which was a pizza night at Georos. Here, all presidents received a gift of a gavel, and Olga received the Best Soror Award, for her dedication to the sorority. At the end of 1998, the Iota chapter was inducted, located in Richboro, under Allison Margulies as president. In 1999, under Jill Malinger as president, the Eta chapter located in Yardley was inducted. The charity for the school year was Multiple Sclerosis. They handed over all the funds they had collected to Mrs. Barb Cohen from the MS Society at their annual Spring Frolic Dinner-Dance, which was held at Hotel Philadelphia. The Grand Council at this time was running however without specific titles being held or specified annual meetings.