to read the third installment of Texas Sammy`s newsletter.


to read the third installment of Texas Sammy`s newsletter.
UT Austin Σigma Αlpha Μu - Sigma Theta
Issue #3, March 2015
The Texas Sammy
Alumni Spotlight:
Jaime Karakowsky
By Jack Stillman
Joe Schwartz (left) with his older brother Jake (right).
Nothing exists quite like the Negev
desert, a desert that covers most of the
southern geography of Israel. The heat
and unusually dry air, nature’s way of
saying not to settle on its land, is
juxtaposed by irrigations systems
longer than cattle trains that fight to
keep the land green and habitable.
Sadly, this land is no stranger to fights.
These days most of the fighting does
not happen between nature and its
inhabitants, but between Israelis and
their increasingly determined enemies.
A similar climate to Israel’s can be
found in the city of Monterrey, Mexico,
where the warm Mexican sun heats the
skin of the local Jewish population of
A Letter From the
A focus of my tenure in office was to increase the
communication that we had with you all, and I am
very happy to announce the launch of our new
website, The new
site was created by Eric Binder (PC’14), and the
website committee helped bring in all of the
pictures and information. Please go check it out,
and I know you will be as impressed as I am. We
appreciate any feedback you can give us to make it
even better, and have added a comment section so
we may receive whatever feedback you can provide
us with. Our members are working very hard to
make the fraternity grow internally, and it is
making a huge difference. We are not solely
focusing on the membership size because we
recognize there’s no point in large quantity without
high quality. These newsletters, the new website,
our ever increasing geographic reach: it’s through
these gains internally that we better ourselves
externally. It’s through the countless hours work
and collaboration that our ideas become realities,
our rushees become actives, and our experiences
become the lasting memories so many alumni still
have and cherish. That’s what makes Texas Sammy,
and everyone inside it, a fraternity of brothers.
-Prior Brandon Gabay
500 each day. The Santa Catarina River, dry most of the
year on the surface but full of flowing underground
water beneath, is tapped to provide the city with much
needed water. Much like the Santa Catarina River,
Texas Sammy alumnus Jaime Karakowsky (PC’11) was
tapped to speak at the Israeli Bonds Kind David Award
Dinner before the event’s keynote speaker President
George W. Bush. In front of over 1,500 attendants, Jaime
spoke passionately about the need for unity in the
Issue #3, March 2015
Jewish community behind Israel.
His speech, entitled “Why I Invest
In Israel”, was most definitely a
success. $60 million in bond sales
later, it’s safe to say that Jaime was
not the only one to invest in Israel.
The peaceful coexistence of Jews
and other religious entities has
always been the goal of Israel. It
exists as a safe haven for Jewish
people to live and prosper without
religious persecution. Similarly,
Sigma Alpha Mu was founded so
that Jewish students would be able
to partake in “pleasant associations
and companionships” that the
founders worried would not be
present without the fraternity’s
existence. Just like Israel, Sigma
Alpha Mu does not close its doors
to people of other faiths. We open
our doors to “any male student of
good moral character”, much like
Israel opens its doors to over 2
million non-Jewish inhabitants.
Texas Sammy is almost 15-20% non-Jewish, and some of
our most active members, including current and former
Rush Captains, Socials, and Vice Priors, are non-Jewish.
Jaime spoke to protect the Israel we love, the Israel that
gives our people a home, the Israel that protects against
religious discrimination, and he did so in front of the
former President of the United States. Jaime truly embodies
what it means to be a Texas Sammy.
Chapter Takes on Local
Domestic Abuse
By Michael Fine
The brothers of Sigma Alpha Mu came together
over the past month to take a stand against
domestic abuse and extend a helping hand to
the victims in their city. UT Greek life’s recent
efforts to combat sexual abuse culminated in
the explosion of support for the “Not On My
Campus” campaign. The campaign aimed to
educate students on sexual assault prevention
and protection in their daily lives. Sammy’s
president Brandon Gabay teamed up with hiphop performer Asher Roth to take the pledge,
beginning a rapidly growing trend within
Sammy that has included pledges from
countless brothers in the fraternity. Determined
to continue its philanthropic efforts, Texas
Issue #3, March 2015
Sammy took the effort even further by
donating hundreds of assorted clothing
items towards the SafePlace foundation, a
charity that aims to end sexual and domestic
abuse nationwide. The SafePlace foundation
is a local organization founded by Austin
women forty years ago, and has since grown
into an influential community advocate for
victimized woman and children who have
had their lives changed forever by abuse.
Sigma Alpha Mu is engaging in
philanthropy like never before, and is poised
to take its impact to the next level in the
upcoming months.
Transferring to Texas: Part II
By Ben Fleschman
The University of Texas at Austin is a pretty appealing place. UT was recently ranked as the 9th
best party school in the United States by Playboy™ Magazine while simultaneously enjoying a
ranking as the 26th best university in the world by the Times Higher Education Institute. With
this reputation, it’s pretty easy to see why UT is now considered a destination school by
students not just from the lone star state, but the whole world. 15 members of my pledge class
of 46 alone were from out of state (18 if you count El Paso). However not everyone starts their
college career at the 40 acres. Out of PC’13’s 46 members, 4 are transfer students from outside
the UT system: Alex Berger, Brett Silvers, Max Blumenthal, and myself. Alex and Brett’s stories
can be read in the previous edition of the newsletter.
Oklahoma City is home to the Thunder and Max Blumenthal.
A standout rower in high school, Max was selected as a
member of the United States under-19 national rowing team
that placed 5th at the 2011 Junior World Championships in
London. Out of high school Max accepted an offer to row for
the University of California-Berkeley. Attending an elite,
beautiful academic institution and rowing for a top-tier
collegiate rowing team was a dream come true for Max. But
by his 2nd year at Cal, Max began to grow tired of juggling
the grueling demands of both the rowing team and Cal’s
ultra-intense, fast-paced academic culture. After learning it
would take him 6 years to graduate from Cal’s business
school if he stayed on the rowing team, Max decided to
transfer to UT where his father and grandfather had attended.
Max’s family ties weren’t the only reason UT piqued his
interest. With a top 10 ranking and elite reputation, the
Issue #3, March 2015
McCombs School of Business seemed like a perfect fit. Max is currently in his 2nd year at UT
and is majoring in finance with a minor in marketing. While pledging Sammy, Max transferred
his leadership skills away from the rowing team straight to the pledge class, where he served as
Pledge Class President. Max got the most out of his experience at Cal, and is very happy that he
has moved on to a different sort of college experience here at UT. On joining Sammy and
coming to UT Max explained, “I definitely miss Berkeley, the views of the San Francisco bay
area are AWESOME from campus, and the Berkeley campus is beautiful. But I feel at home in
Austin. I’m glad I got to experience the student-athlete world and Greek life in my time in
Ben Fleschman
I’m from Austin, grew up a lifelong Texas fan from a family full of
Longhorns. I attended the University of Arkansas freshman year,
learned some valuable study skills, and then worked my butt off to
get back down to the promise land. Despite incredible odds, I’m
somehow the only kid in my entire pledge class from Austin. My
pledge brothers have made my college experience everything I
wished it would be and more.
Note from the Editor: Ben is many things, and one of those things
is modest. As the author of this piece, he didn’t want to talk about
himself too much which is why his section is so much shorter than
the rest. What Ben left out, is that he has already worked in a wide
variety of fields despite still being a college student. He worked as
a Business Development Intern for a UT-licensed company called
Terra Pave International, as a Legislative Session Governmental
Affairs Intern for the Employees Retirement System of Texas, and
is working on a scholarly paper entitled “A Modern Anachronism:
How the West Must Approach The Islamic State” with a renowned
UT professor.
Matzah Bowl Recap: Sammy Three-Peats
By Jake Lapin
March 7 marked everyone’s favorite time of year, when
Sammy and ZBT freshmen face off in their annual flag football
game. The two Jewish fraternities have been fighting over the
same rushees and Phis for generations, and now they got to
battle it out on the gridiron.
For the third year in a row, Sammy defeated ZBT to capture
the three-peat and a 3-0 series lead in the modern era. Led by
quarterback Jack Settleman, Sammy won 14-13 in a
memorable overtime thriller. Each team scored on their first
possession to tie up the score at 7-7 going into halftime.
Sammy’s drive included a Hail Mary pass to Joe Schwartz,
who is a walk-on for the UT men’s basketball team. Joe played
as many plays in the Matzah Bowl as he could before having
to head back for shootaround in preparation for the
Issue #3, March 2015
Longhorns’ game against Kansas State that
The defenses stepped up in the second half, as
neither team scored in the second 20 minuteperiod forcing OT for a second consecutive
year. Matt Picon came up with a game-saving
interception towards the end of regulation to
keep the score knotted up.
The overtime rules are the same as college
football, where each team gets a chance to
score. Sammy won the toss and decided to
defend first. ZBT scored a touchdown, but
didn’t convert the extra point. The pass was
batted away, with linemen Adam Knust and
Caleb Toomey each getting a hand on it.
On Sammy’s possession, Settleman found
receiver Nick Kreider, who walked on to the
Texas Football team for Charlie Strong in the
fall, in the end zone to tie things up at 13. On
the extra point attempt, Settleman rolled to his
right and found lineman Dean Kaire in the
corner for the dagger. The Sammys stormed the
field for the third time in a row, chanting
“Mushkies” for all of the IM field-goers to hear.
The undefeated streak survives another year.
The two fraternities have been playing each
other in sports for years, but this year marked
the third official Matzah Bowl. The new
tradition started back in February 2013. Since
then, the game has become an exciting mainstay
in the Sammy-ZBT rivalry.
In the first inaugural game, Sammy won in
blowout fashion, 20-7. The Zeebs could only
manage one touchdown as Sammy dominated
on both sides of the field. Led by quarterback
and future Sammy president David Ardis, it
was an easy win.
The following year was a much more
entertaining game. PC’13 was able to defeat
ZBT in a 19-13 OT thriller. Jake Schwartz had a
David Tyree-esque catch for a critical first down
on offense, and later had the game-winning
interception to seal the deal, keeping Sammy
Coached by former champion and intramural
enthusiast Corey Schneider, the Sammy team
this year was a fine-tuned machine. The actives
from both fraternities came out and supported
their teams in an electric atmosphere. There
were some scuffles along the way, but at the
end of the day Sammy came out on top.
Another Matzah Bowl is in the books with
Sammy still unscathed. The pressure is on for
PC’15 to continue this rich tradition and
undefeated streak.
The Chapter’s Future Leaders
By Brad Wolff
A few weeks ago, junior Charles Van de
Pol (PC’13), sophomore Jeffrey Toobi (PC
‘14), and Jacob Przada (PC’14) attended
the Sigma Alpha Mu Leadership
Conference with most of chapter’s
council. The three of them have made
strides within the fraternity and around
Austin. Van de Pol is currently serving as
the Kitchen Manager. Toobi is currently
the president of the Texas Collegiate
DECA chapter, an organization that he
recently placed 1st place at the state level.
Przada is currently the social for the 2014
pledge class while interning at the Texas House
of Representatives.
Issue #3, March 2015
Sophomore Jake Schwartz (PC’13) is
currently a rush captain while balancing his
other on-campus responsibilities. Since last
spring, Schwartz has been on the University
Co-Op Board of Directors and was elected to
the Undergraduate Business Council in
Freshman Alec Weissman (shown above)
and Eric Binder (PC‘14) are a part of the
Apprentice Club, where they partake in
business activities to earn money for the
foundation of their choice. Furthermore,
within Sammy, they are both members of
committees including the Brotherhood and
Website Committees respectively.
Freshman Brad Wolff (PC’14) is a Business
responsibilities entail being the Company
Director for the VIP Distinguished Speaker
Series for the Undergraduate Business
Council, Convergence Intern for SXSW,
and being the PC‘14 treasurer, as well as on
the Sammy Careers and Newsletter
Commitees. Up until last month, Wolff was
a VIP Sports Writer for FanVsFan, where he
interviewed hundreds of star athletes.
Issue #3, March 2015
Active of the Month
By Jack Stillman
Eric Binder’s work ethic, evident in just his short amount of
time on campus, has earned him this month’s Active of the
Month award. How he does so much is baffling. Before
stepping foot on UT’s 40 acres, Binder had already achieved
By Yoni Lipski
what many set out and fail to do: start and run a successful
business. Founder and CEO of the sporting news website since high school, Binder manages and
maintains a full-functioning sports analysis website with over
200 staff members. He brought his experience in the online
medium to Sammy taking charge of commissioning a new
website for the chapter. “I hope rushees, actives, and alumni
love the new website and I’d like to thank the website
committee for helping me make it happen,” said Binder. If you
haven’t had a chance to see the new website, it’s brilliant.
Bright and clear pictures of the house and actives, are paired
with stylized photos from parties like Carlos n’ Charlies and
Atlantic City. Says Prior Brandon Gabay, “Since he became an
active, Eric has been constantly finding new ways to help the
fraternity. I know he has a bright future because he knows how
to use his strengths to the fullest.” With 3 more years
remaining, the sky is the limit for Eric. It’s hard to imagine not
seeing Eric as the Active of the Month again in the years to
come. Well done Eric!
New House Improvements
Managing Editor:
Jack Stillman
Brandon Gabay Brad Wolff
Michael Fine
Ben Fleschman
Jake Lapin
A Texas Sigma Alpha Mu publication

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