Grandparents immigrate to the US through Ellis Island from Russia to avoid religious persecution.
Settling in Chicago, parents practice reform Judaism and own a family deli.
Growing up in a simple Jewish life, close family with fond memories of lots of food and warm holidays. Father decorated as a war hero after surviving the Bataan Death March and internment in a Japanese prison camp.
Attends American University in Washington DC, studying law and politics, worked for Senator Mondale. Strongly influenced by Six-Day War, the Holocaust and writer Leon Uris, he dedicates himself to Judaism, Graduates from Hebrew University in 1975.
Works as an Assistant Rabbi in Long Island before joining TBY in 1976. After 40 years, Rabbi Miller enjoys the inter-generational aspect of the TBY community, from Naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, to Weddings, and seeing families grow up with TBY.
Rabbi Miller has served as spiritual leader of TBY for over
35 years, leading the congregation from its small and humble
beginnings to its position as one of the premier Reform Jewish
synagogues in Southern California. A distinguished scholar
and educator, Rabbi Miller has been selected annually by the
Daily Pilot newspaper as one of the most influential leaders in
Orange County. He received his B.A. in Political Science from
American University in Washington, D.C., his M.A. in Hebrew
Letters, Rabbinic Ordination and Doctor of Divinity Degree from
the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He served for three years as Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Roslyn Heights, N.Y. He taught the sole Judaica course at U.C. Irvine for 22 years, taught the Senior Judaica course at Tarbut v’Torah Community Day School for two years, and taught Hebrew Scripture for 7 years at Chapman University. Rabbi Miller is in great demand as a speaker at community events and his column appears in the Daily Pilot newspaper.
Among the many world leaders he has attracted to address the congregation are Yitzchak Rabin, Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.
Rabbi Miller has a long and illustrious history of contributions to the community and to Israel, serving in such positions as National Rabbinic Adviser to the Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal; member of the Board of Governors of the College of Judea and Samaria; and President of the Orange County chapter of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. He has been a devoted supporter of Beit Mazor Home for Asthmatic Children in Arad, Israel, and works extensively on behalf of Bikkur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem. In addition, he has served as President of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and has led numerous leadership missions to Israel, several in association with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a projected congregational trip to be conducted in April of 2013.
An avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, Rabbi Miller delivered the invocation at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 2003. He has invoked G-d’s blessings in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Miller lives in Irvine, California with his wife Wendy, and they are blessed with five children.
“Over these decades, I have given my heart to this congregation and my heart has been touched on so many occasions, through so many experiences, and by so many people. From the vantage of such longevity with one congregation and community, I am now reaping the rewards of inter-generational sharing in the lives of families. I am naming the children of parents at whose naming ceremonies I once officiated, celebrating the B’nai Mitzvah of young people whose mothers and fathers heard my words of Torah when they themselves were called to the Torah, and I am joining in times of family sorrow as they grieve for members I have long known. In joy and sadness, on the summit and in the valley, and in all the times and situations in between, together we are engaged in the pursuit of holiness and heritage, belief and learning.”
- Rabbi Mark S. Miller