Rabbi Miller’s example and service have been a unique blessing to Birmingham. He and Judi and their family have beautifully demonstrated how strong bonds of friendship and understanding can be forged between peoples of different faiths, races, backgrounds, and ideologies through open communication and generous hearts. For Jesse and me, the ability to worship and learn at Temple Emanu-El while maintaining our membership at Southside Baptist Church and our identity as Christians has meant the world. The first time I heard Rabbi Miller speak was on a Sabbath at 16th Street Baptist Church at a rally for a civil rights cause. He mentioned that he would not normally have participated on the Sabbath but citing the importance of the gathering said he believed it was the right thing to do. I commented to Jesse that Rabbi Miller seemed to be a “Jesus kind of Jew”, like my father (who was a Jew….not a Christian). Someone for whom striving to be righteous, compassionate, accepting, humble, worshipful and a servant leader is more important than strict observance. We know much more about the Rabbi and Judaism now. My opinion is unchanged but we better understand now how Jewish those “Jesus” qualities are. Thank you for the lessons and the friendship.
~Mary Lynn Dovith Bates