Introduction for Rabbi Dr. Asher Wade
Born in Danville, Virginia (May 31,1949) as Wallace S. Wade, I studied at several liberal arts colleges (D.C.C., Randolph-Macon & Averett) and graduated Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in philosophy (June,1971).
Afterwards, I traveled to Scotland, where I earned a Master’s degree (M.Div.) in philosophical theology at New College, Edinburgh University (June,1974).
Thereafter, I moved to Berlin where I took a sabbatical for 5 months and did private studies at the Goethe Institute. While in Berlin, I also worked as an intern in adolescent & marriage counseling at the US-Army chaplaincy center.
After this stay in Berlin, I traveled to northern Germany and enrolled at the University of Hamburg (March, 1975), where I worked toward a (what ended up being my first) doctorate in the field of Epistemology and General Relativity Theory; (Ph.D.). Nearing completion of this dissertation, I was offered a post-doctoral teaching fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge University in England.
I am also a convert to Orthodox Judaism. My background is that of a religious Christian. While in Hamburg, I was ordained a Pastor in the Methodist Church (Aug.,1975). For three & a half years during my doctoral studies, I was employed as a Minister of an English-Speaking Protestant Congregation (June,1976 to Dec.,1979). During this time, I met my German wife (Jan.,1978), whose father and grandfather were very pious Lutheran pastors.
Several months after our marriage, my wife and I began to investigate Judaism (Nov. 5, 1978). It took about a year and a half for both of us to reach the conclusion that Torah Judaism fulfilled all the intellectual, academic, spiritual and emotional truths for which we had been searching (Feb.,1980). After withdrawing ourselves from the church and leaving the ministry, both my wife and I began our conversion process which took three & a half years and finally culminated with us traveling to Frankfurt-am-Main and converting to orthodox Judaism (May, 1983).
Near the end of 1979, I suffered the hardship of not being allowed to finish my first doctorate at the hands of my supervising professor, who, it turned out, had been a Protestant Chaplain in one of Hitler’s tank divisions which rolled into Poland during World War II. My wife and I, nevertheless, stayed on in Hamburg and found myself another professor and pursued a second doctorate (D.Phil.) on Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch & the Orthodox-Reform Debate. More than two years later, with controversy with my former professor still growing regarding my Jewish status, I withdrew from the university, and together with my wife, moved to the United States (Aug.,1983).
Leaving the academic world and working in business for a number of years, I was contacted by Ner Israel Yeshiva in Baltimore (May,1988). This meeting led to me and my family being sent to Jerusalem where I studied for a number of years at Ohr Somayach Yeshiva (Aug.,1988 to Dec.,1990). In Jan. 1991, I was hired by Heritage House in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as Ohr Somayach and Aish HaTorah Yeshivas as a lecturer and counselor. Parallel to my lecturing and counseling, I continued on in my learning and completed my ‘semicha’ requirements and was ordained an Orthodox Rabbi in December, 1992.
Several years later, I picked up on my prior interest in pastoral counseling and completed a professional doctoral degree in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) through Southern California University for Professional Studies (Oct.,2004). I have been living in Jerusalem now since 1988 with my wife and 6 children and I have a private practice in psychotherapy. I am, also, a retired professor from the Department of Psychology at Touro College here in Jerusalem, however I am, still, an instructor for teaching Practical Psychology and Rabbinical Counseling with the Ohr LaGolah Teachers’ Training College at Ohr Somayach Yeshiva. From time to time, I still travel out on the International Lecture Circuit, although after 15 years of activity I have retired (as of Nov., 2005) from conducting tours in Yad VaShem (the Israeli National Holocaust Museum).
Since leaving undergraduate college in 1971, my travels and lecture tours have taken me almost all over the world; for example, all through the United States (50+ cities), Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Poland, Holland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Venezuela as well as the Canary Islands and I strive to be a ‘kiddush HaShem’ [a sanctification of G-d’s Name] in everything I say, do and think!