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 facilitator, nonprofit consultant, and Certified Professional Coach; she serves as a Senior Consultant at Joyous Justice.

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. 

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.

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.

Yoshi Silverstein

Yoshi Silverstein focuses on embodied Jewish practice and somatic antiracism as Founder & Executive Director of Mitsui Collective, and was formerly Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon.

Advisory Council

Shana Bloom

Rabba Yaffa Epstein

Rachel Giattino

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

Co-chair

Beth Huppin

Steven Jacobson

Ilana Kaufman

Co-chair

Dani Levine

Isaac Luria

Danielle Natelson

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay

Yolanda Savage-Narva

Rabbi Sid Schwarz