Hobart and William Smith Colleges have named Julianne H. Miller as interim director of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life and Hillel adviser. Miller, who is director of education at Temple Beth-El in Geneva and a teacher at Hillel Community Day School in Rochester, succeeds Lorinda Weinstock P’01, who after many years of service to the HWS community, particularly its Jewish students, retired in December 2014.
“I am so delighted that Julianne is willing to step in as interim director of the Abbe Center and Hillel adviser,” says Chaplain Lesley Adams. “Her background and connections with the Colleges and Temple Beth-El make her the ideal person to lead the Center during this transition period in the Office of Religious Life.”
As interim director, Miller will help provide an environment for people of the Jewish faith or with Jewish interests to gather and socialize and to celebrate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. The Abbe Center currently hosts celebrations throughout the academic year, including Rosh Hashanah Eve dinner, the pre-fast dinner before Yom Kippur, Adams’ Pasta Night during the Sukkot holiday, Holocaust Awareness Week programming, and weekly Friday night Shabbat dinners.
“Lorinda Weinstock did a wonderful job of building programming through the Abbe Center and Hillel, and I want to continue the momentum,” says Miller. “I look forward to helping students create the Jewish life that they envision for themselves here on campus and deepening their connection to Judaism.”
Miller is also eager to continue to diversify the offerings of the Abbe Center to contribute to and enrich the entire campus community. “There’s a Hebrew phrase, tikkun olam, which means “repairing the world,”‘ she says. “The responsibility to care for others can be extended to the entire interfaith community, and I look forward to working with other campus organizations with these shared values on new programming and projects.”
As director of education at Temple Beth-El, Miller introduced the Shabbat School program, including student participation in Saturday morning services and study of the weekly Torah portion. Miller also teaches Jewish history, social studies, and tikkun olam classes at the Hillel Community Day School in Rochester, N.Y., where she is responsible for coordinating school-wide tikkun olam projects both in the Jewish community and the greater Rochester community.
Previously, Miller held teaching positions with Temple Beth-El, the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in Rochester, N.Y., and The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox Jewish day school in Paramus, N.J. During the spring 2005 semester, Miller served as adjunct faculty in the Colleges’ Education Department, where she has been a guest lecturer. She is president of the Board at Temple Beth-El, a member of the Rochester Educator’s Council (for Rochester-area Jewish educators) and was previously a member of the Board of Trustees at Hillel Community Day School. Miller earned an M.A. in American history from Brown University and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in history from Princeton University.