46 Union Street: The Untold Story of Rho Upsilon by Bruce Kesselman

Bruce Kesselman
Rho Upsilon Alumni Assoc (2006)
ISBN 9780977244201
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/2020)

“46 Union Street: The Untold Story of Rho Upsilon,” edited by Bruce A. Kesselman, is the history of the Rutgers Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Rho Upsilon.  The fraternity was established for Jewish college men, but open to anyone committed to the mission.

You never know where your inspiration is going to come from, what form it will take, or where you will be when it hits.  For Bruce Kesselman, it was an autumn day in 2004, when, suffering from the flu, wondered what he could do to pass the time. What did he come up with? Writing the history of the Rho Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi. Wow! My only (coherent?) thought when I have the flu is more of a plea with my maker to relieve me of my misery. It takes a special kind of person to undertake such an enormous project; dedication and commitment is critical to ensure its success. “46 Union Street” is the result of such an effort.

Organized into eight parts, “46 Union Street” is a culmination of photos, articles, stories and other significant data surrounding the Chapter, organized and presented as a unique, detailed historical tome.  Kesselman includes chapters on the various fraternities and sororities at Rutgers, the humble beginnings of Rho Upsilon and its history through 2006. There’s a section on the various houses, pledges, sports, events, alumni, life on campus, songs of the frat and other vital data – you name it, if it happened, it’s in the book.

The history of the fraternity unfolds in many different formats; engaging and informative vignettes make it easy to study cover-to-cover or peruse at your leisure by your favorite topic. At various points in the book the reader experiences different heights of familiarity even without any connection to the fraternity. It feels like you are reading a combination encyclopedia, yearbook, news volume, historical textbook, and photo album.  It’s a unique journey and one I found very easy to read. 

Kesselman is both informative and personable and by the end of the read nostalgia takes hold and stays with you for some time. I was called to a time long ago when my brother and I would go up into our Nana’s attic and pull out all her old photos – what wonderful memories. I can only imagine the memories it will evoke in past or present frat members.

Overall, “46 Union Street” is a first-class production of the history of Rho Upsilon.  It should be required reading for all pledges!

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