Asheville Jewish Community Center
Lea Andersen was born and raised in Central Florida. She is a Jewish, nonbinary trans woman, who identifies as a “saris,” a Jewish cultural gender. She worked for New College Hillel as Outreach and Expansion Coordinator and volunteered with peacebuilding and human rights initiatives in Israel. Lea is a skilled facilitator of small groups, has an extensive knowledge of Jewish history and ritual, and seeks to improve her skills as a liturgist.
Through her studies in Public Archaeology, Lea has learned how to use history and storytelling to bolster community identity and cohesion, a skill she intends to use both in her own Jewish communities and in other marginalized communities. In group settings, Lea tries to listen deeply to concerns, both individual and collective, and to help groups reach their goals and conclusions in the best way possible. Lea aspires to the Reform rabbinate, where she hopes to recontextualize transgender identity in Judaism and to foster her fellow Jews’ deep senses of spirituality and peoplehood. Lea’s work at the JCC includes running the Jewish Young Adults group, YAJA, LGBT Jewish programming, administrating Asheville’s PJ Library program, acting as secretary for the Asheville Jewish Leadership Coalition, and acting as liaison between the JCC and local social justice organizations.