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Meet Our Rabbi & Staff

Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Senior Rabbi
t.spitzer@dorsheitzedek.org

Rabbi Toba Spitzer has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek since graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1997. Rabbi Spitzer has long been active in peace and justice work both in the U.S. and in Israel/Palestine. She currently serves on the Board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and as President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. She brings her love of music and her guitar-playing to CDT services, and her passion for teachings to adults and children both at CDT and throughout the greater Boston area. 

Click here to learn more about and order your own copy of Rabbi Toba's new book, God is Here: Reimagining the Divine! 

You can find more information about Rabbi Toba and links to her writings here. 

Melissa Colten

Executive Director
m.colten@dorsheitzedek.org

Melissa (she/her/hers) comes to Congregation Dorshei Tzedek with an extensive background in non-profit and public sectors, with expertise in community building, educational program development and management, international diplomacy, and TESOL.

Previously a life cycle coordinator and cantor’s assistant at an 1800+ member synagogue in NYC, she returned to the Jewish world after 5+ years as the executive director for a community development nonprofit in New Jersey. In addition to her core role there, she beta-tested and honed a collaborative intergenerational teaching model that intertwined multi-disciplinary and service learning.

Raised in the Boston area, Melissa earned a BA in Russian studies and theater from Hampshire College. She spent a combined 8+ years in eastern Europe, where she worked for the consular section of the US Department of State during wartime, the International Organization for Migration combating human trafficking and aiding refugees, and teaching English as a second language. She holds a MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in public international law and international migration, and has also completed coursework in non-profit management at the Kennedy School of Harvard University.

Melissa is passionate about connecting people with ideas and with each other. She adores a good story in any medium, prefers salt water to fresh, and takes great delight in language. She is deeply committed to learning, inclusiveness and making the world a better place for all.

Earnest Arky Solomon

Education Director
e.arkysolomon@dorsheitzedek.org

Earnest Arky Solomon (he/him/his) is honored to be the Education Director and is eager to support CDT in creating inclusive, meaningful, and justice oriented Jewish learning opportunities. In addition to working at CDT, Earnest is a SVARA Teaching Kollel fellow, which equips trans and queer teachers to lead empowering Talmud learning communities. Earnest received an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Earnest draws on his education to create learning experiences rooted in history, storytelling, cultural arts, and social justice. Prior to moving East, Earnest ran an outdoor Jewish religious school in the Oakland Redwoods and a Jewish farming program at URJ Camp Newman. Earnest is married to Emma Arky Solomon and they enjoy playing board games, studying Torah, spending time with their two cats, and working to build a more equitable world.

Hours: Sun 8:30-1:30pm; Mon, Wed, Thurs 10-4; Tues: 11-6pm

Alistaire Webbe
Administrative Assistant 
a.webbe@dorsheitzedek.org

Alistaire (a.k.a. Lise) Webbe (they/them/theirs) is honored to be a member of the Dorshei Tzedek family as the Administrative Assistant and the one who answers the phone when you call! With their Sephardic background, they treasure the opportunity to celebrate some less commonly recognized traditions with their community. Alistaire brings with them a plethora of academic experience, ranging from arachnology to legal studies to library science, in addition to a long history of peer tutoring in various subjects. 

A lifelong Massachusetts resident, Alistaire currently lives in Boston with their wife, Emelia (who also happens to be the Kitah Bet assistant teacher at the CDT Religious School!), and their little family of two cats, a rat, and a beloved tarantula named Buttercup. In their free time, they enjoy playing the piano and cello, writing, and modern Sephardic cooking. They also have an abundance of passion for spiders, singing, libraries, ASL, and curly hair care. 

 Akiva Nelson
Rabbinic Intern
a.nelson@dorsheitzedek.org

Akiva Nelson (he/him/his) is a rabbinical student in Shanah Gimel (3rd year) at Hebrew College. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he graduated from Columbia University in 2012. Post-college, Akiva worked in renewable energy for 4 years in Detroit. Simultaneously, he began exploring the Jewish roots he’d left dormant since his teenage years, falling in love with a Judaism infused with song, meditation, joy, and justice - including becoming involved as a lay leader in an amazing Reconstructionist synagogue,   Congregation T’chiyah. For the past 6 years, Akiva has designed curricula and taught about the Divine, Jewish identity, the changing American religious landscape, and entrepreneurship to groups ranging from Jewish clergy and teens to recent college graduates and university-based scientists and engineers. A dedicated meditation practitioner and song leader, he’s studied Jewish text, prayer, and mysticism in communities like the Pardes Institute, Nava Tehila, the Romemu Yeshiva, Yeshivat Hadar, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Akiva is excited to teach inclusive and accessible forms of Jewish wisdom to learners of any faith or Jewish educational background, and is so lucky to be joining the CDT team for this upcoming year.

Jess Green

Inclusion Coordinator
inclusion@dorsheitzedek.org

Jess Green (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be joining Congregation Dorshei Tzedek as the Inclusion Coordinator. She will also be teaching first graders in her eighth year at Temple Beth Shalom and leading the Family Learning Circle at Nehar Shalom for the second year. Jess earned her Master's degree on Jewish education with a focus on special education from Hebrew College. She has a strong focus on Jewish spaces that are inclusive for her and believes that everyone can and should learn and live Jewishly and in community. Jess loves to teach about social justice, Jewish food, holidays, and ways to make ritual our own. Originally from New Jersey, Jess has lived in Boston for 16 years and is a member of several different local Jewish communities. She loves to cook for her chosen families, hang out with the kiddos in her life, and be at the beach.

 Dennis Maler
 Audio/visual engineer

 Dennis Maler (he/him/his) is a host,     producer, and audio engineer currently  residing in Boston. His introduction to   audio started at 8 years old when he fixed his father's old record player in the garage so he could listen to his Chipmunk Rock vinyl record. He has worked in radio, television, movies, live entertainment, and alongside award winning artists, productions, and teams.  He is currently a freelance performer, producer, and recordist for hire throughout the New England area. Dennis is available for hire to produce and edit your audio and video projects, as well as host your live and/or recorded event. He is a true entertainment Renaissance man who is as talented and comfortable in front of a mic, camera, or on-stage, as he is behind the scenes making sure everything goes smoothly from pitch to air.

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783