Rabbi Alana Alpert
Since 2015, Rabbi Alana Alpert has led our community in prayer and protest as rabbi of Congregation T'chiyah and founding executive director of Detroit Jews for Justice.
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. 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 part-time professor of philosophy and religion at several institutions in the Metro-Detroit area, a popular local educator, and the creator of the Esoterica web series. Ask him about Karl Marx, esoteric mysticism, and home-brewing.
Jake Ehrlich, Community Engagement Associate
Thanks to a generous grant from the D. Dan & Betty Kahn Foundation, T'chiyah has been supported by the full-time work of our Community Engagement Associate, Jake Ehrlich, since Spring 2018. A native of Long Island, New York, Jake has been a resident of Detroit and its environs since 2015. He holds a bachelors degree in comparative religion from Hampshire College and a masters degree in interpersonal social work and a Certificate in Jewish Communal Leadership from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
As T'chiyah's sole staffer besides Rabbi Alana, Jake wears many hats. His primary responsibilities include: connecting with T'chiyahniks and prospective members in one-on-one meetings to learn about who they are and what they bring to our co-created community; supporting congregational teams like our Levites (Musical Daveners), neighborhood mutual aid groups, and LGBTQ+ Task Force; and designing edifying educational/social/spiritual programs to keep our congregants well-connected and meaningfully engaged with Jewish tradition.
He draws on his social work training to assist Rabbi Alana in providing pastoral care to congregants, and offers his experience as a songleader to enliven T'chiyah's Shabbat and holiday services with participatory music and song. (He also manages much of T'chiyah's administrative business, including social media, communications and database management.)
Jake is passionate about nourishing a creative, do-it-yourself ethos to religious practice, and enjoys studying anti-authoritarian political movements, singing folksongs, and gardening with his partner Nina and kiddo Oscar in their Detroit home. To schedule a one-to-one or to ask a question about pretty much anything T'chiyah-related, email [email protected].
T'chiyah Board of Trustees
The following congregants are currently serving as trustees for the 2020-21 fiscal year:
Mary Ellen Gurewitz, President
Victoria Kohl, Vice President
Barbara Goldman, Secretary
Koby Levin, Treasurer
For Board-related matters, please email Preident Mary Ellen Gurewitz at [email protected]