The chanukiah was lit at the Festival of Rights

On Dec. 26, nearly 150 Jews and allies joined together for Detroit Jews for Justice’s second annual Festival of Rights.

At Red Door Digital, a community space in Detroit’s North End, people gathered for live music, political education and, of course, latkes. It was an opportunity for those who have been working hard to celebrate accomplishments and introduce friends to this powerful community. 

The chanukiah was lit at the Festival of Rights

In addition to our regular campaign and solidarity work, we announced two new projects: a series of learning opportunities around the anniversary of 1967 and a caucus for Jews of color.

Leaders facilitated stations where folks could learn about some of the organization’s core issues, like regional transit and water justice.

We were joined by friends from the Motor City Freedom Riders, the Ecology Center and the People’s Water Board.

Traditional and less traditional Chanukah songs, like Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Light One Candle,” were especially resonant. I shared some reflections on the history and meaning of Chanukah and what it can teach us at this moment in the history of our country.

Chanukah means “dedication.” It gives us an opportunity each year to rededicate ourselves to struggles for justice. At the Festival of Rights, new and old leaders committed to stretching ourselves in the coming year — to show up for learning, for action, for play and for the nitty-gritty. 

As the song goes: Kol echad hu or katan, v’kulanu or eitan — Each of us is a small light, all of us are a great light.

Rabbi Alana Alpert

Rabbi Alana Alpert is director of Detroit Jews for Justice. For information, visit