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Rabbi Erik Uriarte

Rabbi Erik Uriarte joined Tree of Life in summer 2022.  He was born in Los Angeles, and grew up in the Bay Area in California.  In 1998, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an Intelligence analyst, and served for 4 years in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, California.  During this time, he became actively engaged with the military Jewish community and would serve in the role of Lay Leader, earning an Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for this work.  Upon discharge, it was suggested to him by his command Chaplain that he pursue a career as a military Rabbi and Chaplain, he did not return to school in earnest until 2009.  In 2013, he was accepted to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and the US Navy’s Chaplain Candidate Program, and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy Reserve.  During his time in Rabbinical School, he served as a Student Rabbi at synagogues in Yakima, WA and Billings, MT, and at Beit T’shuvah – the first Jewish-centered addiction treatment center – in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Uriarte is passionate about making the thousands of years of Jewish tradition accessible to the modern world, and leads vibrant and interactive studies of Jewish texts, thought, and tradition though our Torah studies and Adult Education Programming.  He also takes an active role in Youth Education, assisting in the various classrooms and leading Confirmation classes.  In his personal life, he is a self-described nerd who loves gaming of all kinds.  He's played Dungeons and Dragons since he was 10, and usually has a board game set up in his office.

Education Director - Elisa Westfall

Elisa Westfall has been the Education Director since 2021. She has taught Judaic Studies at TOL for 15 years while also serving as the Religious School Board Chair. During the week, she is a Nationally Board Certified 6th grade ELA teacher at CrossRoads Intermediate School in Lexington School District 5. Elisa earned both her BA and MA in Education from the home of the “Fighting Koalas,” Columbia College! She can be found at the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center in the summers where she serves at the director of Camp Gesher. 

Elisa and her husband Paul are the proud parents of two daughters who attend Tree of Life Religious School and another daughter who has been confirmed was a madricha at the school.  

Elisa's goal is to keep the heart, soul, and laughter thriving both in and out of the classroom as we all work together, as a team, at the Tree! 

Contact Elisa Westfall at 

Office Manager - Teresa Williams

Contact the office at


Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyar 5784