Rachel Isaacs was named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” (2014) by the Jewish Daily Forward. Ordained in 2011 by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, Isaacs is the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation. She is also the inaugural holder of the Dorothy “Bibby” Levine Alfond chair in Jewish Studies, teaching courses on Hebrew, Jewish theology, and Jewish humor. In 2016, she delivered the final Hanukkah benediction of the Obama administration at the White House. She lives in Waterville with her wife, Melanie Weiss, and their daughters, Nitzan and Hadas.
David Freidenreich is the Pulver Family Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and director of Colby’s Jewish Studies Program. He teaches a wide range of courses on Judaism, Jewish history, and comparative religion, directs Colby’s Maine Jewish History Project, and lectures widely to community and academic audiences. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Erica Asch, Assistant Director
Erica Asch is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in Augusta, Maine, and the Hillel advisor and Jewish chaplain at Colby. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2008 and then took a position as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the first rabbi to do so directly out of rabbinical school. After three years with IAF, she served as an assistant rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C., before moving to Augusta in June 2013.
Melanie Weiss, Director of Summer Programs
Melanie Weiss is the Director of Education and Programming at Beth Israel Congregation of Waterville, Maine. She is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Dorot Fellow. A native of New York, she loves working and living in beautiful Maine.
Sarah Rockford, Program Coordinator
Sarah Rockford, Colby ’15, works to build and strengthen Hillel-synagogue relationships throughout the state of Maine. Since graduating from Colby, she has worked in the Portland Jewish community, on organic farms in Maine, and as a project leader building trails in the Rocky Mountains in her home state of Colorado.
Liz Soloway Snider, Administrative Specialist
Liz Soloway Snider served as administrator and Hebrew-school teacher at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, Maine, for many years. She has worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and at Moment Magazine. A native of New York, she attended Prozdor, the Ramaz School, and Brown University. She lives in Belfast, Maine with her husband and three sons.