Rabbi Alana Alpert
Founding Executive Director
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, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, is a professor of philosophy. Ask him about Karl Marx, esoteric mysticism, and home-brewing.
Rabbi Alpert receives a high volume of email. For questions about our programs or general inquiries, or to contact Rabbi Alpert for speaking engagements, send a message to Valeriya Epshteyn or use our Contact Form. For matters related to Congregation T'chiyah specifically, you can email Community Engagement Associate Jake Ehrlich by clicking here.
A Chicago area native and converted Michigander, Allie Zeff could not be happier to be joining the team at Detroit Jews for Justice. She started her career in Detroit in 2014 as a newly graduated Music Teacher. Her transition into community organizing was catalyzed by the local and regional political climate , especially in the ways it effects our education system. Allie served as a volunteer leader with Detroit Jews for Justice for over 3 years and feels passionately about the work. In her free time, Allie likes to hang out with her dog Aaron and her soon-to-be husband, Gabriel. She also loves to read, cook, and play roller derby.
Organizer for Culture & Resources
Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine and raised in Metro Detroit, Valeriya comes to us most recently from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Environmental Justice and Activism. Radicalized by impending ecosystem collapse, v dove into UM's fossil fuel divestment movement and entered local organizing through Semester in Detroit. Valeriya is a member of the Iyengar Yoga Detroit Collective and is passionate about cooperatives, vegetable gardening and fermentation, and gathering people for embodied Jewish ritual such as Shabbat Dinner Murder Mysteries.