Zeta Beta Tau is a Greek letter social fraternity. Today the merged Zeta Beta Tau Brotherhood is one of the largest, numbering over 140,000 initiated brothers, and over 90 chapter locations. Zeta Beta Tau was founded in 1898 as the nation's first Jewish fraternity, although it is no longer sectarian. The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was inspired by Dr. Richard J. H. Gottheil, a professor of languages at Columbia University and a Zionist. On December 29, 1898, he formed a Zionist youth society with a group of students from several New York City universities. The society was called Z.B.T., the meaning of which is revealed in the fraternity's ritual. In 1998, the meaning of Z.B.T. was announced to the world, though it was listed in the American Jewish Committee's annual report as early as 1908. In 1903 Z.B.T. formally became Zeta Beta Tau, and its purpose shifted away from that of a Zionist youth organization as other Zionist organizations grew in prominence.
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