Rabbi Erica Asch, Rabbi of Temple Beth El in Augusta, ME, was elected to the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on January 29, 2023.
Rabbi Asch, the daughter of a mixed marriage, grew up as one of a handful of Jewish children in the Navy town of Coronado, California. Being part of such a small minority intensified her sense of Jewish identity, which she cultivated further as a student at Oberlin College. After graduation, she joined Teach For America and taught high school math in the Mississippi Delta.
She enrolled at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and served pulpits in Greenville, Mississippi, and Ishpeming, Michigan. She was part of the AJWS Rabbinical Student Delegation to El Salvador in 2006 and served as a student representative on the Commission on Social Action of the Union for Reform Judaism. After being ordained in 2008, she took a position as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, and later served at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C. before moving to Augusta.
Rabbi Asch has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth El since June of 2013. Rabbi Asch is active in the community and has most recently been working with the Capital Area New Mainers Project, a group of volunteers who welcomes immigrants and refugees to the Capital Area. Rabbi Asch also works for Center for Small Town Jewish Life, is on the Commission for Social Action of the URJ’s Religious Action Center, and is President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
“Rabbi Asch’s personal and professional journeys lend a unique perspective to her service – and to the work we are doing to strengthen and advocate for the College-Institute’s mission,” stated HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. “We are lucky to count her among our alumni and especially fortunate to benefit from her service as a member of our Board of Governors.”
Rabbi Asch lives in Hallowell, ME with her husband, Chris Myers Asch, and their children, Miriam, Robin, and Aaron.