Rabbi Erica Asch has been installed as the president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). The ceremony took place on February 24 in Tel Aviv. She becomes the fourth woman and the youngest person ever to lead the 130-year-old professional organization of over 2200 Reform rabbis who serve more than 2 million Jews worldwide.
Rabbi Asch, the daughter of Jean and Bill Seager of Coronado, is a 1996 graduate of Coronado High School. She was president of the club-of-the-year Drama Club, was co-valedictorian, and was the Molly McGowan winner as the outstanding graduating girl. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2000 with a double major in History and American Studies and a minor in Mathematics. She joined Teach for America and spent two years teaching mathematics at Gentry High School in Indianola, Mississippi. After a year of graduate work at the University of Memphis she was accepted into the rabbinical program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. While in school, she served pulpits in Greenville, Mississippi and Ishpeming, Michigan and was part of the American Jewish World Service Rabbinical Student Delegation to El Salvador in 2006. She also served as a student representative on the Commission on Social Action of the Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Asch received her Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters Degree in 2007 and was ordained in 2008. For three years in a row, she was awarded the Robert L. Adler Prize as the rabbinical student with the greatest contributions to the community.
Rabbi Asch then took a position as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation in Washington, D.C, the first rabbi to do so directly out of rabbinical school. After three years with IAF, she served for two years as an assistant rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C., then moved north to Central Maine.
Rabbi Asch has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth El in Augusta, Maine since June of 2013. She is active in the community and has most recently been working with the Capital Area New Mainers Project, a nonprofit organization that welcomes immigrants and refugees to the capital area. She and the congregation have also worked with local school boards to help them better serve the needs of religious minorities in their schools. In addition, Rabbi Asch works for Center for Small Town Jewish Life. She is also on the Commission for Social Action of the Religious Action Center and just concluded her post as the Vice President of Leadership for the CCAR.
Rabbi Asch lives in Hallowell, Maine with her husband, Chris Myers Asch, and their children, Miriam, Robin and Aaron.