Avodah Institute Staff & Leadership

Black woman speaking into a microphone to a crowd outside

Sarra Alpert

Director, Avodah Institute for Social Change

Sarra Alpert helps to build activist communities that support and challenge each other in anti-oppressive, transformative social justice movement-building in Jewish communal spaces and beyond. She has been shaped in her thinking, teaching and being by (among other things): her Avodah Service Corps year and alumni experience, as well as many years on the Avodah Service Corps and Justice Fellowship program staff teams; two terms on the board of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice; 14 years on the faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Cornerstone Seminar; four years as a Lecturer in the NYU Expository Writing Program; her Schusterman Fellowship; many years of teaching in a wide range of Hebrew schools and other Jewish learning spaces; her MFA at NYU and her BAs at UCSD; growing up in United Synagogue Youth and at Camp Ramah in California; and, most importantly, by being a part of many wonderful, warm groups and communal organizations, from family and friends to writing retreats and food co-ops. She can often be found cooking with and for friends, singing along to something, reading on the subway or enjoying New York City’s parks, events, and various surprises.

Institute Faculty

Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), facilitator, and nonprofit consultant.

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein is Avodah’s Service Corps National Jewish Educator, Chicago Justice Fellowship Director, and a passionate learner and teacher of Torah. 

Jonah Canner

Jonah Canner is an ambassador from the world we have not yet built. He believes in people, community, and the sacred obligation we have to make positive change in the world around us. Jonah’s primary areas of focus include racial equity, restorative justice, experiential education, and working through conflict. Jonah was born in New York City, raised in New Jersey, and currently lives between New York, California, and New Mexico.

Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter is the Senior Director for the NYU Center for Global Spiritual Life, Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming and Adjunct Faculty at the NYU Silver School of Social Work.

Dr. Imani Chapman

Dr. Imani Chapman has more than 30 years of experience organizing, educating and developing curriculum for social justice and works toward a world in which her children and the young people in your lives can live wholly and safely into their full humanity in an equitable world where race is not a major determinant in health, wealth, legal, and educational outcomes. She was raised between New York and Massachusetts, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Keshira haLev Fife

Keshira haLev Fife (she/they pronouns) is a Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) and a bi-racial, queer Jewish person who delights in serving as davennatrix (shlichat tzibbur), lifespiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, teacher, facilitator, liturgist and songstress.  She serves as Founding Kohenet of Kesher Pittsburgh, Program Director for beloved, inaugural Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and also enjoys working with the Jewish Learning Collaborative. After many years of traveling and living in Australia, she and her beloved once again make their home on Osage and Haudenosaunee land, also called Pittsburgh, PA.  www.keshirahalev.com

Gamal Palmer

Gamal Palmer is a Global diversity and inclusion specialist, JOC Affinity Group Facilitator for the Board Member Leadership Institute (of Boardified through Kellogg School of Non-Profit Management), Jewish Educator and Activist.

Caroline Rothstein

Caroline Rothstein is an internationally touring writer, poet, performer, and educator who performs spoken word poetry, publicly speaks, facilitates workshops, and teaches year-round.

Yoshi Silverstein

Yoshi Silverstein is Founder and Executive Director at Mitsui Collective, which cultivates pathways to Jewish embodiment to activate thriving, resilient, healthy, and diverse communities that embody Jewish values of equity, justice, compassion, and belonging. Formerly, he spent 15 years working in the field of Jewish Outdoor, Food/Farming and Environmental Education (JOFEE), including as  Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon. He lives in Shaker Heights, OH on Erie Haudenosaunee land with his wife and daughter.

Yehudah Webster

Yehudah Webster is a community organizer and Program Director & Faculty for Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project, leveraging Torah spirituality and Jewish wisdom in fostering collective antiracist Teshuvah. 

Dubbs Weinblatt

Dubbs Weinblatt (they/them) is a genderqueer, trans, sober, educator, producer, speaker, storyteller, podcaster, consultant, and Founder/CEO of Thank You For Coming Out. Born and raised in Columbus, OH, they now live in Brooklyn, NY taking advantage of all NYC has to offer!