Staff

 

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Rabbi Alana Alpert

Executive Director

rabbi@detroitjewsforjustice.org

 

 

A California native, Rabbi Alana Alpert is excited to be reclaiming her Detroit roots (her great-grandfather had a men's wear store on 8 mile). She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Community Studies, where she studied resistance and social movements and first learned about faith-based community organizing. She is a graduate of AVODAH: the Jewish Service Corps and ACTIVATE! The Community Organizing Fellowship of Social Justice Leadership. Rabbi Alpert has worked as an organizer at NY Jobs with Justice and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

Clear that her work would be at the intersection of spirituality/faith community and social change, she went to rabbinical school to prepare for the next level of Jewish leadership. During her time at Hebrew College, Rabbi Alpert took leadership around feminism, Israel/Palestine, GLBTIQ rights, and prison reform. She co-founded the Liberatory Minyan, a place for rabbinical students to explore the nexus between prayer and activism. The burnout epidemic, which has led to increasing demand from social change-workers for spiritual counseling, inspired her capstone project "Like a Burning Bush: Jewish Practice for Activists."

She had the opportunity to live in Israel a total of three years and speaks Hebrew fluently. Rabbi Alpert co-founded and directed Project Hayei Sarah, a community of emerging Jewish leaders speaking out about human rights abuses in Hebron, for five years. While in rabbinical school, she worked at Harvard Hillel, Temple Shir Tikva, the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education where she served Holocaust survivors.

Rabbi Alpert received ordination from Hebrew College in Boston in 2014. In her spare time, she swims, sings karaoke, and tries to learn to play guitar. In addition to serving as the director of DJJ, Rabbi Alpert is the proud rabbi of Congregation T'chiyah in Oak Park. She is really excited to meet you!

Her partner Justin recently received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, he is excited to be working as an organizer for the American Federation of Teachers. Ask him about Karl Marx, esoteric mysticism, and home-brewing.

Rabbi Alpert receives a high volume of email. For questions about DJJ's campaign work, please contact community organizer Eleanor. For questions about our programs or general inquiries, or to contact Rabbi Alpert for speaking engagements, send a message to Program Associate Valeriya Ephsteyn or use our Contact Form. For matters related to Congregation T'chiyah specifically, you can contact Rabbi Alpert at rabbi@tchiyah.org.

 

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Eleanor Gamalski

Community Organizer

eleanor@detroitjewsforjustice.org

 

 

Eleanor received her BA from the University of Michigan in 2014, with a major in International Studies focused on Haitian history and a minor in Urban Studies. She participated in Semester in Detroit, an immersive urban studies program grounded in the history of Detroit activism and grassroots struggles today. She went on to work for Semester in Detroit after college as Director of Outreach and Recruitment. She received a Master of Public Affairs from Brown University in 2016 with a focus on urban policy. Her particular area of interest was Community Benefits Agreements, inspired by movements for equitable development in Detroit. Born in Bloomfield Hills, Eleanor now lives in Hamtramck.  In her spare time she loves to bike, use her slow cooker,and attend services at Congregation T'chiyah where she is a fan of the rabbi. She is a proud alum of the Roeper School.

 

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Valeriya Epshteyn

Program Associate

valeriya@detroitjewsforjustice.org

 

 

Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine and raised in Metro Detroit, Valeriya comes to us most recently from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a concentration in Environmental Justice and Activism. Introduced to community organizing through student-driven fossil fuel divestment, Valeriya plugged into the Detroit Environmental Justice movement as a Semester in Detroit alum. Valeriya is passionate about creative writing, vegetable growing and fermentation, and cooperative housing.

 

 


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