(JTA) Jim Fleischer, a Canton, Ohio native who served as CEO of the historic Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi since June 2018, died of cancer on Saturday the 9th. He was 52.
In a statement, AEPi said, “Jim fought a courageous battle against cancer for the last three years, but the fight was too much and he passed away yesterday evening surrounded by his family and fraternity brothers.”
Fleischer graduated from Kent State University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and worked as an AEPi chapter consultant upon graduation before working as a fundraiser for UJA Federation of New York. He owned his own printing business on Long Island for nearly eighteen years, during which time he was a volunteer chapter adviser and regional governor for AEPi.
In 2019, AEPi’s supreme council awarded him the Order of the Lion, the fraternity’s highest honor, for exemplary dedication and service to the fraternity.
“Until he took his last breath yesterday, Jim demonstrated his love for two things above all else: his family and AEPi,” the fraternity said in the statement.
“Jim’s love for AEPi was unmatched. Those of us who knew him well, knew that there was nothing that energized him more than having the opportunity to meet with undergraduate AEPi brothers, to help them better themselves and their chapters. His commitment to AEPi’s mission, our Jewish communities and Israel are why he devoted his life to our fraternity. We hope that we all use Jim’s life as further inspiration to better our fraternity and our communities.”
Founded in 1913, AEPi is active at around one hundred and eighty campuses internationally, including in Israel. Almost ten thousand undergraduates are active in the fraternity every year, most but not all of them Jewish. The fraternity has over one hundred thousand alumni.
Fleischer was described by colleagues as a successful leader who had a passion for Jewish causes and the state of Israel.
Ronald Klein, an AEPi foundation board of directors member, told the Cleveland Jewish News: “I just felt he knew the Jewish community and the value of AEPi in his gut”. “AEPi has been sort of a predominant Jewish fraternity for a number of years now… There was a lot of responsibility that went with the fraternity moving toward that direction, as opposed to some of these other fraternities that became more assimilated, and he was one of the people along with others who felt the Jewish nature of AEPi was so important from developing the next level of community leaders from our Jewish community – young men who at a younger age felt the passion of Israel, felt the passion of Jewish values, and he just obviously took it upon himself to lead in that direction.”
Fleischer is survived by his wife of 26 years, Alison Braun Fleischer; his sons, Ethan and Spencer, his daughter, Madison “Madi”; his father, Frank Fleischer of Canton; his brother, Richard “Rick” of South Euclid; and his in-laws, nieces and nephews.