Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Executive Director

Rabbi Asher Lopatin is the founding director of the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse, a nonprofit designed to bring diverse people together in enriching dialogue, as well as the founding rabbi of Kehillat Etz Chayim, a new, Modern Orthodox synagogue in metropolitan Detroit. Prior to serving in these roles, he was president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York and the senior rabbi of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Rachel, helped found the pluralistic Chicago Jewish Day School and he co-chaired the Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Fellow with an M. Phil in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University, Rabbi Lopatin also has done doctoral work at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, in Islamic Fundamentalist attitudes towards Jews and Israel. He received ordination from Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, and from Yeshiva University, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. In 2011, Rabbi Lopatin became a permanent member of The Council on Foreign Relations.

In addition to being a nationally sought-after teacher and lecturer, Rabbi Lopatin has written numerous articles and chapters in more than 20 books.

Email Rabbi Lopatin at or call (248) 642-2640.

Lauren Herrin, Assistant Director

Lauren Herrin joined JCRC/AJC as its assistant director in November 2017. In this position she oversees the organization’s Government Relations committee, board outreach and online presence, among other duties.

Prior to joining JCRC/AJC, Herrin spent more than a decade at Marx Layne & Company, a Farmington Hills-based public relations, marketing and digital media agency, most recently serving as a senior account executive. There she provided strategic counsel; coordinated press conferences, ribbon cuttings and other events; developed and implemented public relations campaigns of all sizes; and led social media, marketing and advertising initiatives with clients in the nonprofit, hospitality, professional service and legal sectors.

Herrin received her bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a specialization in public relations, from Michigan State University.

Email Lauren at or call (248) 642-2641.

Sam Englender, Community Outreach Manager

Sam Englender joined JCRC/AJC as Community Outreach Manager in March 2019. In this position he focuses on building and strengthening Jewish-Muslim and Jewish-African American relationships in metropolitan Detroit.

Having spent his youth in Southfield and Beverly Hills, Mich., Englender attended Michigan State University where he earned a degree in International Studies. Following graduation, he moved to Israel where he lived for the next three years working in the Jewish nonprofit world at the Joint Distribution Committee and as a project manager at an internet start-up.

After realizing he wanted to serve the Jewish community in America, Englender moved back to the States and enrolled in Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) Rabbinical School where he cultivated his passion for interfaith work and led a multi-pronged initiative, including bringing American-Muslim leaders to speak at YCT and studying Arabic at America’s only Muslim liberal arts college.

Email Sam at or call (248) 642-2656.

Sandy Lippitt, Special Projects Coordinator

Sandy Lippitt has extensive experience in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and has expertise in marketing, logistics and event planning and coordination. She began her career as a consumer products buyer with B & E Wholesale, where she worked for more than over five years. She later worked in marketing for such companies as Clairol and Rubbermaid, and as an event coordinator for Merck Pharmaceuticals, setting up medical demonstrations throughout southeast Michigan. She later became the event coordinator for Avon’s Three-Day March for Breast Cancer.

Lippitt’s non-profit experience includes event coordination work with Lungevity and Tamarack Camps, the latter where she chaired the Send-A-Kid to Tamarack annual fundraiser for two years. She began her work with JCRC/AJC as community relations associate in September 2013, later becoming the literacy programs coordinator in 2015.

Email Sandy at or call (248) 642-2649.

Hannah Goodman, AJC Detroit Young Leadership Associate

Hannah Goodman works with JCRC/AJC to further high school, college and young professional programming and involvement in AJC, in partnership with programming at JCRC/AJC.

A Chicago native, Goodman moved to metropolitan Detroit in her youth, later attending James Madison College at Michigan State University where she earned a degree in Social Relations and Policy.  While in college, she held an internship at Capitol Advocacy Services Group, a government relations firm in Lansing and spent a summer interning at Equal Education, an organization in Cape Town, South Africa focused on mobilizing students to advocate for education rights post-Apartheid.

Prior to joining AJC, Goodman served as programming associate on the NEXTGen Detroit team at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Email Hannah at or call 313-202-4542 x 4542

Joy Alekman, Administrative Associate

Joy Alekman joined JCRC/AJC in February 2019 with a background in office administration and management. She most recently served as the office manager for nine years at and The Detroit College Promise, a nonprofit scholarship organization, which are run from the same office.

An active member of the Detroit Jewish community, Alekman received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University.

Email Joy at or call (248) 205-2546.