In Hashavua Article, Yavneh News

Emily Kane Miller has dedicated much of her life to working for social good. Now the founder and CEO of Ethos Giving, a company that advises others on philanthropy and social impact, Emily has long invested in her community through direct action.

Following her graduation from Yavneh in 1993, Emily was involved in a wide range of public service and advocacy work including serving as a San Jose City Youth Commissioner during her high school years and focusing on Jewish Studies and Public Policy at UCLA.

She then went on to work as a legislative assistant with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism prior to completing her law degree at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Deeply committed to a life of social action, Emily was thoroughly invested and took on many new endeavors, including launching the Southern Arizona Election Protection project and the law school’s Students for Reproductive Justice chapter.

A cornerstone in her life that shaped who she is both Jewishly and professionally, Emily says, attending Yavneh provided powerful building blocks for her academic and spiritual life.

“I am an ‘On the one hand … on the other hand …’ kind of person because of Yavneh Day School,” she says.

Yavneh helped provide a Jewish lens through which Emily became passionate about learning and Rabbinic debate. “Yavneh taught us the power of critical thinking and the joy of banter,” Emily says. A theme that she certainly carries into her professional life.

Among her best Yavneh memories is her receiving her first siddur. A first-grade milestone, Emily recalls how hard her mother worked to make a beautiful cover.“I can close my eyes and still see the felt, puff paint, and love, and remember the weight of it in my young hands,” she says. “The sense of responsibility and bondedness to our people I felt when I received my Siddur still comes through me every time I hold one.”

While Emily acknowledges how her family taught her the importance of being a mensch, she says Yavneh made a difference in her life by showing her it was possible to surround oneself with a community of like-minded people.

“Yavneh created a deep sense of menschlichkeit in all of us,” she fondly recalls. “I have always been so proud of and inspired by my fellow Yavneh alums, the work they do, and the way we live in the world.”

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