Sigma Delta Tau was nationally founded on March 25th, 1917 at Cornell University. We were founded by seven Jewish women who felt the sting of discrimination in their own community while attempting to join Panhellenic sororities. Frustrated with how they were treated, these brave women decided to take matters into their own hands. On June 16, 1917, we were welcomed to campus by Cornell administration and the seven National sororities already on campus at the Installation Banquet for the Alpha Chapter of Sigma Delta Tau.
Meet Our Founders
Dora Blum Turtletaub Dora Bloom was the first ever President of Sigma Delta Tau. She earned the nickname, "the leader," through her calm, effective direction for the first chapter of Sigma Delta Tau. She served as the Secretary of the Conference of Jewish Women's Organizations and as the President of the Theresa Grotta Home.
Amy Apfel Tishman Known as the, "personality plus co-ed," Amy made New York City her home after graduation. After her passing in 1982, her family devoted a scholarship in her name to the Alpha chapter of Sigma Delta Tau. The scholarship is awarded every year to one deserving member at Cornell University.
Marian Gerber Greenburg Marian focused more on her academic life than her social life. Given the name, "the brain," she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in History and co-authored two books on travel. She also taught Judaic Studies classes at the University of Massachusetts and earned international recognition for her volunteer work as the first American Chairman of Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah.
Grace Srenco Grossman Grace happened to be assigned Dora Bloom as her roommate her freshman year. Through Dora, she helped found the Alpha chapter of Sigma Delta Tau. She also helped found the Beta Chapter of Sigma Delta Tau, during which she found her future husband. She was nicknamed the "campus queen," and spent much of her time supporting American Red Cross and painting.
Inez Dane Ross Known as, "the sophisticate," Inez became a prominent social worker in New York after founding Sigma Delta Tau. Eleanor Roosevelt honored her at the White House for her Depression era relief efforts during the 1930's. She also designed Sigma Delta Tau's crest and chose the national colors: cafe au lait and old blue.
Regene Freund Cohane As the "activity girl," Regene excelled in her pre-law studies and her on campus organizations. She became our first National President in 1918 and continued to serve as a National Counselor for 35 years afterwards. She was chosen as one of Detroit's, "Women of Achievement," and in 1991, Sigma Delta Tau established the Regene Freund Cohane Outstanding President Award in her honor
Lenore Blanche Rubinow Lenore studied dancing at Cornell University and sociology in graduate school at Colombia University. Through her education, she led and organized the Department of Social Services at the Neward Beth Israel Hospital. She was known to her sisters as, "the idealist."
Meet Our Ritualist
Nathan Caleb House, "Brother Nat" Through Dora Bloom, Nathan Caleb House was asked to write our Initiation Ritual, our most sacred ceremony. While writing, he kept in mind the unique qualities of each of the seven founders. Through his labor emerged a beautiful ceremony we still use to initiate all our members. Nathan was, "lost," to Sigma Delta Tau after he left Cornell, but in the 1950's he was, "found," by a member of the Tau chapter and invited to the 1958 National Convention. He attended almost all Biennial Conventions until his passing, and he was the only man to ever wear our Torch pin.