Rabbi Heather Miller, 42, is a public school leader and founder of The Multitudes, an organization that supports Jews of color. Miller has facilitated workshops that have helped close to 100 Jewish communities (and over 4,000 individuals) “move along their journeys towards a greater level of race consciousness,” as she describes it. A Brooklyn-based mom of three, Miller cites her son’s experience of being called a racial slur at Jewish day school as the motivating force pushing her into leadership: “My goal is for my boys, who are proudly descended from both freed slaves and Holocaust survivors, to grow up being fully connected to their Jewish communities,” she tell us, adding, “I find it gratifying to support JOCs in their desire to learn and pray in community, despite the heartbreaking lived experiences that so many share. I hope that one day more spaces will have done the work needed for Jews on the ‘fringe’ to feel safe enough to return.” Miller is also the president of the Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center.
For the full list of this year’s “36ers” — which honors leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making a difference in New York’s Jewish community — click here.
How does your Jewish identity or experience influence your work?
Whether I am channeling the teachings in Pirkei Avot in my daily school leadership or teaching a parsha [Torah portion] study class, my Jewish identity is at the core of how I move through the world.
Do you have a favorite inspiring quote?
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” — G.K. Chesterton. I happen to really love dragons but this quote reminds me of the importance of looking at situations from multiple perspectives.
Who is your New York Jewish hero?
Ruth Messinger, for so many reasons
What’s a fun/surprising fact about you?
I love horror movies. The more supernatural/religious, the better!
What was your best experience as a Jewish New Yorker?
There’s something about being within earshot of the Shabbat siren that feels very Jewish Brooklyn to me.
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How can people follow you online?
FB and IG: @themixedmultitudes
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