Upon graduating from RRC in the spring of 2023, Rabbi Asher Sofman saw his beginning rabbinical career as an opportunity. He was already a lifelong Reconstructionist, one of the pioneer campers at Camp Havaya. He knew the transformative sense of welcome that could arise from the whole-hearted sharing of beliefs, wisdom and practice across difference, and he believed that, as a Reconstructionist Rabbi, he could bring some of that summer camp spirit of inclusivity into any community he would serve.
As the inaugural Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Program Coordinator for Reconstructing Judaism’s Thriving communities, he is excited for the opportunity to share that spirit with every community he will serve.
Between summer camp and his rabbinical career, he studied creative writing and world literature at Brown University, earning a B.A. with honors in Literary Arts. He later left his sunny South Floridian birthplace (unceded Seminole territory) to put down roots in his ancestral homeland, New Jersey (unceded land of the Lenni-Lenape), in a reversal of “traditional” Jewish American migration patterns. His spouse, Ashley McDonnell, is glad to have seasons again.
Since first learning about pastoral care, Ash has pursued a rabbinate that emphasizes the deep listening, reflection and spiritual accompaniment of chaplaincy, particularly in elder-care settings. He interned as a student chaplain and then became associate chaplain at continuing-care retirement communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He also interned with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; taught religious school at Germantown Jewish Centre; advised Villanova University’s Jewish students; and served as a representative of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College on Reconstructing Judaism’s Jews of Color and Allies Advisory Group. In all his work, Ash seeks to ground understanding of our universal humanity by celebrating our grand diversity.
When he isn’t wearing his “rabbi kippah,” Ash leans into his other nerdy interests: video games, sci-fi and fantasy novels, and creative writing. He also enjoys cooking (and eating!) and knitting, a craft he learned from the residents he worked with as a chaplain.