"When you are involved in a Temple like Temple Beth Sholom, you WANT to support it.
You want to leave a legacy so that your experience can be duplicated over and over."
For Alice Miller, former Executive Director of Temple Beth Sholom, and her wife, Fran Levey, it's all about commitment...to one another, to Judaism, to community and to Temple Beth Sholom.
Alice and Fran both grew up in the northeast, Alice in Westchester County, New York and Fran in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Both of their families were active members of Reform congregations. "Weekly attendance for Friday night services was part of my family ritual," recalls Alice. She and Fran are part of the legacy of the Reform Movement, having grown up and been educated in reform synagogues, been involved in temple youth group, Union Camps, social action, college and adult programs. Alice and her late husband, Norman, moved to Florida in 1972 and became active members of Congregation Bet Breira in Kendall from its inception in 1975.
Alice and Fran's commitment resonates in all of their involvement in our Temple, which also includes a great love of Jewish music. "Jewish music is important to us and something that moves us. It makes us feel good... that's my spiritual connection," says Fran. Alice interjects, "We also hope that the Temple will be able to continue to be welcoming and open to anyone who wants to worship here, regardless of financial impediments. One of my legacies here as Executive Director was doing all I could to ensure that membership was open in a non-threatening way; never making anyone demonstrate financial need. I always told people, 'if you want to be Jewish, you can find a home here at Temple Beth Sholom.'"
Through their legacy gift, one of the things they want to accomplish is to enable the Temple to expose the congregation to contemporary Jewish music.
Not surprisingly, it was an icon of Jewish music, Debbie Friedman, z"l, a mutual friend of both Alice and Fran's, who brought them together in 1999. Their first date was to celebrate Alice's job offer from the Temple. They remember how welcome they felt from the very first day as a couple here. A very special time in their lives was the Magical Mitzvah Tour in 2003, where they bonded as a family to the other participants. In 2006, they celebrated the first commitment ceremony at the Temple with four clergy and Debbie Friedman present. It was a very special day for them and for Temple Beth Sholom. Most of their social life revolves around their friendships from the Temple; finding others who share their interests and values, their love for Judaism.
They both believe that supporting a Temple is vital to the continuation of our Jewish community. "We have been very fortunate with the generosity of our members who understand this," says Alice. She and Fran both hope that the next generation will be as inspired in their philanthropy.