Federation's New Detroiters

Much has been “Friended,” tagged and Tweeted about them. They are the best and brightest among us, representative of the youthful spirit and energy moving to Detroit.

Why Detroit, Why Now?

They’ve come from cities across the country, from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, drawn back to the city were they born and raised. Others have come much to their surprise, to make Detroit their new home. All have come to Federation in search of opportunity and with the purpose to help, to connect and to engage Jewish Detroit in the task of rebuilding a great American city.

Meet Dana Applebaum

Dana Applebaum
Dana Applebaum: sparkling at the Fisher Building

Returning from Chicago a few years ago, with a second child in tow, Dana and her husband decided that Detroit was a pretty amazing place to be from and wanted that experience and quality for her kids.

“It’s the little things, you know, like beloved apple orchards and big family barbeques. They suddenly come into focus as big things when you don’t have access to them. My husband also happens to be a (brilliant) mechanical engineer, so naturally the Motor City is a perfect fit.”

After a six-year stint at home with her family, Dana recently joined Federation as NEXTGen Detroit’s Marketing Associate. “It’s an exciting time to be in Detroit. Coming off of a really hard economic time, we are on the upswing. There is a palpable energy in our city. As every proud Detroiter will tell you, we are a city of infinite possibilities.”

Meet Ted Cohen

Ted Cohen
Dining Detroit-style, Ted Cohen drops in for lunch at Athens Coney Island.

After many years on the west coast, Ted, his wife Julie and son Jonah were lured back to the Motor City by its unique mixture of friendly people, unpredictable weather and accessible Coney Island hot dogs. As Federation’s Marketing Director, he loves devoting his energy to an organization whose business is helping people in need and creating positive change for the Detroit Jewish community. Ted draws much of his inspiration from the creative energy now flowing in and around the city. Other pluses: He considers the salt stick at New York Bagel on Woodward to be the best in the world and, unrelated, views the Detroit Red Wings to be the single greatest sports brand in history.

“I’m extremely proud to be a native Detroiter,” he says, “There’s a spirit here that doesn’t exist anywhere else we’ve lived. Part of that comes from the deep history of the city and the community, part is from the collective efforts to solve our problems, and part is due to the wealth of talented, engaged, and fundamentally good people that we have here.”

Meet Bryan Fenster

Bryan Fenster
Bryan Fenster: rockin’ in The D at the corner of Beaufait and Charlevoix

With a passion for social media, community engagement and strong family ties in Detroit, Bryan and his wife, Cara, moved back from Chicago nearly two years ago. As founder of Detroit Nation in Chicago, Bryan found a natural fit for his talents as a storyteller with the Detroit Federation, where he now plays a key role in “spreading the word” as a Social Media and Content Strategist.

“The culture and family tradition we shared as youngsters in Detroit means everything to us now, especially as new parents. The thought of my daughter growing up here inspires me to continue to do my part; to engage NEXTGen and beyond in making our suburb, our town, our city, the place we all want it to be. Everyone has something to offer and that’s what makes this place a city like no other. Heart and soul. To my brothers and sisters living elsewhere: Detroit is still kickin’ out the jams. Come rock with us.”

Meet Tara Forman

Tara Forman
Tara Forman: loving city life with a view

Passionate about community building and all things Detroit, Tara calls Midtown home. A year ago, she returned from New York City, after completing her Master’s degree from Columbia, to join Federation as a NEXTGen Detroit Associate.

“Things are happening in Detroit that weren’t happening in other cities. There’s a fighting spirit here, like the city’s got something to prove. I came here because I am able to get my hands dirty and really have an impact on affecting change, especially within community outreach and engagement.”

Tara’s passion, determination and fresh perspective are engaging and inspired. “We’re fortunate to have such a unique community that offers so many different ways to shape our individual and collective future.”

Meet Aliyah Schneider

Aliyah Schneider
Aliyah Schneider: on a garden path at Cranbrook

Aliyah is no stranger to adventure. From St. Louis to D.C. and Tel Aviv to L.A, this hard working jet setter now calls Detroit home! Coming back to a Federation from The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), Aliyah’s commitment to engaging donors and constituting change globally is a force of good that undoubtedly should be on everyone’s radar.

“As crazy as it seemed to leave Los Angeles and the outdoor lifestyle I love so much, when Scott (Kaufman, Federation CEO) approached me with the opportunity, I knew it was something I wanted to explore. In the past, I worked with the Israel and Overseas Committee in Detroit and had a window into a group of worldly, knowledgeable lay-leaders that impact the community globally. You don’t see that everywhere. I’m excited to be part of this force, in helping bridge the local and global efforts the community supports.”

Meet Miryam Rosenzweig

Miryam Rosenzweig
Miryam Rosenzweig: knockin’ it out of the park at Hart Plaza

New to the Motor City, after 16 years in New York City, Miryam has come to love the DIA (almost) as well as the MET. Trading leisure walks in Central Park for power walks in Hart Plaza and turning in her METRO Card for a car she can drive have been challenges. But thanks to a GPS, and her strengths in community engagement, she’s found her way into the heart of the city, via Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit.

“What brought me to Detroit and still excites me is the clear and consistent message that Federation is both invested in a new model for NEXTGen engagement and deeply committed to its young leadership. There is an energy and ethic in this Jewish community that I had not experienced before. When you’re in Detroit, you are embraced by the notion of community, not just by the people, but by the idea that we are a part of something greater.”