Rabbi Heather Miller, MAHL, is a faith-based leader in Los Angeles, California. Informed by the justice-filled prophetic teachings of her faith, she brings a religious and spiritual lens to address inequities and works to amplify the voices of disenfranchised groups especially women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants and youth, and those at the intersections of these identities.
In June 2016, Rabbi Miller was one of 9 Angelenos nominated by the community to serve on the Los Angeles Civilian Oversight Commission of the L.A. County Sheriff Department.
Rabbi Miller has brought her passion for keruv, the Jewish concept of bringing people close to Jewish community, to Beth Chayim Chadashim since 2013. There, she can be found leading Shabbat and holiday observances, teaching in the Religious School and engaging adults in the study of Torah, leading personal and lifecycle rituals, meeting with congregants regarding pastoral concerns, and representing the congregation in various social justice activities around Los Angeles. She also enjoys helping to vision the future of the congregation through her service on the Futures Task Force. During her 18-month tenure as Membership Committee Chair, Rabbi Miller and her committee achieved significant growth in membership, connection and engagement.
In 2015, Rabbi Miller pioneered Drop-In Sessions of study, reflection and conversation for those exploring and/or new to Jewish identity. Participants appreciated the dynamic discussions about Jewish identity and how they might incorporate it into their own sense of self, and as a result of exploring these topics in community, have gone on to more confidently claim and express their Jewish selves.
In 2016, Rabbi Miller has been chosen to participate in the inaugural year of the Jewish Federation’s Edah Rabbinic Fellowship, an intensive leadership program for rabbis practicing congregational innovation, organizational change, and the development of spiritual communities.
Rabbi Miller previously served Temple Beth El of South Orange County, California. There, in addition to her responsibilities preaching, teaching and leading, she secured funding from the Orange County Jewish Federation to pioneer the Engaging Shabbat Experience, welcoming prospective members to the congregation, and resulting in an impressive rate of affiliation. Additionally, she helped lead the innovative Saturday religious school for the entire family, called Bayit to Bayit, a project of the Legacy Heritage Foundation. Rabbi Miller was also active in interfaith groups working for marriage equality. She was profiled in the Orange County Jewish Life Magazine, and recognized as a woman leader of Orange County.
Rabbi Miller was born and raised in an interfaith family in Los Angeles. She attended Wellesley College and earned her B.A. in two areas: Peace and Justice Studies with a focus in Jewish History, and Africana Studies in 2001. She received her M.A. in Hebrew Literature in 2007 and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2008 earning awards in Homelitics, Rabbinics, Halakhic Literature, Ecumenical Studies, History, Interfaith Activities, and Human Relations along the way. She is a proud member of the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, the Black Jewish Justice Alliance, and the Jewish Outreach Institute’s Professional Affiliate Program.
In 2013, Rabbi Miller and her wife, Melissa de la Rama, were named two of the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Leaders to Watch. Rabbi Miller currently serves on the foundation’s Advisory Board and their Education and Criminal Justice Community Funding Board.
(This biographical statement provided by Heather Miller.)
Biography Date: July, 2016
Jewish (Reform) | Clergy Activist | Marriage Equality | Racism | Women and Religion | California | Los Angeles