Coalition of congregations to help with social justice in community

Rabbi Alana Alpert has a vision for more Jews from Metro Detroit becoming involved in social justice. Through Project Micah, a first of its kind community organizing effort, Alpert sees a great opportunity to draw more Jews into social justice movements and more activists into Jewish life.

"Project Micah is about bridging the gap between city and suburbs, so we can make real social change throughout Metro Detroit. The time has come to create an avenue for Jews to help drive positive change in the city-Jewishly," said Andy Levin, vice president of Congregation T'chiyah and president of Lean & Green Michigan. "We've seen great successes with similar organizations in New York, Washington D.C. and the Twin Cities. The time is ripe for Detroit."

T'chiyah, Alpert's synagogue, joined forces with the Harriet Tubman Center to create the first-ever Rabbi-Organizer position in the country. "We are asking the question: What is possible when your rabbi is with you in synagogue and at the picket line? How will that impact your identity and motivation to live a life committed to Judaism and social justice?" said Alpert.

Recently, T'chiyah became the first Jewish organization to join the Metro Coalition of Congregations, a project of Harriet Tubman Center. "Jewish communities have a long history of involvement in social justice" said Rev. Robert Cornwall, MCC president and pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church. "We're thrilled to work together."

"I support congregations moving beyond the soup kitchen and becoming a force for systemic change," said Alpert, who has spent the last ten years preparing to lead an effort like Project Micah. In her work as a community organizer and educator she has worked at a variety of Jewish and interfaith social justice organizations, focusing on workers' rights and economic development. Reflecting on her first few months she said, "I've been getting a great response from Jewish community leaders and young Jews living in the city-I'm excited to develop the vision for this project together."

T'chiyah is an inclusive, egalitarian, participatory Reconstructionist synagogue, with a strong commitment to social justice. It welcomes Jews and their loved ones of all races and sexualities. Reconstructionism recognizes that Judaism changes within the framework of tradition, striving to create a culture that encompasses the legacies of Judaism and contemporary American life. All are invited and welcome to T'chiyah's High Holiday Services. No tickets are required. More information may be found at www.tchiyah.org.

Through community organizing, Harriet Tubman Center connects individuals, institutions and organizations to increase participatory democracy and create greater equity throughout all of Michigan. Projects include: Detroit Clergy Gathering, Metro Coalition of Congregations, Michigan Organizing Collaborative, Michigan Prophetic Voices, and YOUTH VOICE. Harriet Tubman Center, with its projects, is a non-partisan non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. For additional information visit www.tubmanorganizing.org.

Published: Thu, Sep 04, 2014

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