Tova Miller, 21, loves Jewish education. After graduating from Bais Yaakov of Baltimore, Miller decided to further her own Jewish education by attending seminary at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim for a year. Now, Miller is currently in her third year at University of Maryland, Baltimore, majoring in computer science. While she attends university, Miller also strives to volunteer for organizations that educate other Jews. She is involved with Baltimore NCSY and is a Yavneh Fellow.
Miller lives in Pikesville and belongs to Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim.
What is the Yavneh Fellows program?
Yavneh is an organization for Orthodox students on college campuses. They provide resources, networking and a community to help grow Jewish life on college campuses. They have Shabbatons so that different college students can network together and meet students for other college campuses. Through Yavneh, you can also request money for different programs that you want to run. It is really to help Jewish college students take action and leadership on their campuses. Their main goal is to help improve college life for Orthodox Jews. In order to become a fellow, they ask you to run a program on your campus and attend once-a-month leadership sessions.
What do you do through Yavneh?
So, Yavneh has different organization through them. They have one called 25 for 25, which is a program that I am involved with. This program is a collegiate learning program, which pairs students up from different college campuses for one-on-one learning. It is 25 minutes a week for 25 weeks. I also really love the Chabad on my campus, so I used Yavneh’s resources to help grow the Chabad. The first event of this year brought 40 college students to a Chanukah party.
Why do you feel a pull to be involved with Jewish organizations?
A lot of these organizations talk about furthering Jewish education, and I am definitely all for the furthering of education. However, it is not just about furthering. Sometimes, it is about starting. I wish that every Jew had exposure to Judaism. It is something that I was blessed to have since I grew up Orthodox, attended schools like Bais Yaakov and went to seminary. Not everyone is as fortunate as I was. Sometimes, people come into organizations with biases against Judaism, and I believe this can be resolved if they are educated in the right way.
What does being an Orthodox Jew mean to you?
It might be cheesy, but I think it mean leading by example. We need to be a light on to all of the other nations. We want other people to know what we are all about and get them in on the secret.
In your opinion, is Judaism a secret?
No, it’s not a secret. That’s the point. It’s not a secret; it’s there if you want it.