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.
Susannah joined the DJJ staff as Deputy Director in November 2019. As a founding member and former Steering Committee member, DJJ is the most meaningful way Susannah expresses her Jewish identity. Susannah grew up in Congregation T'chiyah and is now a member of both T'chiyah and the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. She has been involved in interfaith community organizing all her life, including participation in the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), the Riverfront East Congregational Initiative (a program of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion), and the Cranbrook Peace Foundation's Youth Leadership Project. After 8 years as an arts administrator for Detroit-based arts nonprofits, Susannah brings creative and intuitive skills to DJJ, along with strong administrative organization. Susannah oversees HR, Finance and Organizational Development initiatives.
Organizer for Campaigns and Education
Allie joined the DJJ team as a staff member in early summer 2019. 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 affects Detroit’s education system. Allie served as a volunteer leader with Detroit Jews for Justice for over 3 years, serving in multiple roles including chair of the Grassroots Fundraising Committee, Steering Committee Member, chair of several cultural events, including Festival of Rights and Purim, and contributing artist for several campaigns. Allie established both a political and spiritual home in the Detroit Jews for Justice community. The shift from volunteer role to staff was a natural progression and a testament to the organization’s commitment to creating organizers and leaders out of their members. As the organizer for Campaigns and Education, Allie has been able to use her skills as an educator, activist, and passionate community member to help steer the political work and educational programming for the organization.
Organizer for Culture & Resources
Blythe joined the DJJ team as a staff member in February 2020. She started her career in the corporate realm as a strategy analyst for a Korean automotive parts company, continuing to grow and hone her skills in marketing and project management with her time at a car culture magazine in Detroit. Blythe is a collaborative production designer and visual artist who has been a member and curator of the TETRA Art Collective since its inception in November 2017. Over the years she has contributed to the performances and art projects of Knight Arts Grant recipients, Kresge Art Fellowship recipients and an Art Prize Juror Short List, allowing her to fully integrate her passion for the Detroit community and her skillset for organization and creativity. Blythe brings these experiences with her towards the role of DJJ’s Organizer for Culture and Resources, growing programs and providing facilitation, leadership and support for fundraising initiatives.