Since arriving at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange a decade ago to work alongside Rabbi Daniel M. Cohen, Rabbi Ellie Miller has established herself, he said, as an “agent of change.”
On Friday evening, Oct. 30, TSTI will offer a Shabbat service in honor of her milestone anniversary, marking her 10th year at the temple and in the rabbinate.
“Rabbi Miller’s passion and enthusiasm for her job, and especially for the children at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, is palpable,” said Cohen. “Her imprint is on just about every program, from the preschool and religious school to worship services, the youth group, adult education, and social action.”
“It is both a privilege and a blessing to be able to say that I work with Rabbi Miller.” Cohen said.
Miller credits her success to job sharing and her good fortune to be part of what she calls “a magical clergy team” that includes Cohen, Cantor Theodore Aronson, and student cantor Joan Finn.
In a typical work day at TSTI, Miller might take part in dozens of activities, including driving to East Orange to drop off food and clothing at Helping Hands and Ears; meeting with fellow board members at Bridges Outreach, a Summit-based organization that serves the homeless; taking classes at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Manhattan, where she is completing a master’s degree in religious education; and guiding b’nei mitzva students in selecting a mitzva project and developing their bar/bat mitzva speeches. She may also be finalizing plans for the “Noisy Service,” a Friday night Shabbat program she created that incorporates the use of musical instruments so children learn the difference between noisy and quiet, preparing them for proper behavior in the sanctuary.
Miller prepares the annual High Holy Day program honoring the previous year’s b’nei mitzva — which, said Cohen, provides “a meaningful educational and worship experience for the congregation’s school-age population” — and arranges for high school students and members of Sharey Tefilo-Israel Senior Youth to participate in Midnight Run, a wintertime drive into New York City with warm clothing collected from the community for distribution to the homeless.
The 37-year-old Miller — the daughter of a rabbi and a schoolteacher from North Brunswick — and her husband, Nathan Lynn, have three children under the age of seven, including three-year-old twins.
Miller, said Aronson, “continues to inspire our congregation. Her contributions and commitment to her family, the synagogue family, and the Jewish religious community are a testament to her as a woman, a mother, and a leader as she actively participates in tikun olam.”
The Oct. 30 Shabbat service will begin at 7:30 p.m.; for more information, contact 973-763-4116 or visit www.tsti.org.