It was Jared Miller’s parents who instilled in him the values of giving back to the Jewish community. Growing up in the Detroit area, his parents were heavily involved with their synagogue, Temple Israel, and other Jewish organizations in their community. For Miller, it was only natural for him to get involved and follow in his parents’ footsteps.
“Growing up, being engaged in the community was part of family life and what we did,” Miller said. “We have a responsibility to care for others in need. I just think as Jews, we have a responsibility to give back to the community, and if the Jewish community doesn’t look after each other, I’m not sure who will.”
Miller found his way to give back to the community through making sure children receive the best Jewish education possible and grow up in a place safe and encouraging to learn more.
“I’m just a big believer in Jewish day school, and I think anyone who gets involved in Jewish day school life is making a difference in Jewish education and building a positive Jewish future,” he said. “All of us in the community have a stake in the success of strong, proud and successful Jewish day schools because the statistics show that the leaders in our synagogues, the Federation and the general community disproportionately come from Jewish day school graduates. I believe the more knowledgeable and proud Jewish leaders we have, it’s good for the Jewish community, not only in Cleveland but around the world.”
Miller’s volunteer positions include board member, executive committee member and immediate past board president of the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, board member of the Jewish Federation Cleveland, vice chair of the Federation’s 2020 Campaign for Jewish Needs, member of the Federation’s overseas connections committee, board member of the Jewish Education Center and board member of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
“As Jews, we have an obligation to leave this world a better place than we found it,” he said. “I’m just trying to make an impact in our community to improve and enhance Jewish life and to strengthen the community for today and the future.”
One of Miller’s greatest volunteer accomplishments was the $10.9 million renovations that he, along with the school board and donors, helped bring to the Mandel JDS building. The renovations featured an expanded gymnasium completed in 2016; new middle school wing with a state-of-the-art science lab, classrooms, common area, offices and upgraded technology through the building completed in 2017; and renovated entrance, new parent lounge, administrative offices, library, media commons, computer lab and offices for @akiva finished earlier this year. The current renovations being done to the school consisting of converting old administrative offices into fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms that will be done during this coming December or January is a project Miller approved when he was still board chair.
“I happened to be board chair, but it was a team effort,” Miller said. “We had an aging building that was built in the 1970s that was not intended to be a school, and we transformed the building into a 21st century learning institution, which will hopefully provide a great learning space for the next generations of students,”
While Miller has many reasons to give back, he has three reasons always around to remind him to push forward in his volunteer efforts: his three sons, Ben, Nate and Jay, all of whom attended Mandel JDS while Miller was on the board.
“I think they’ll follow in the footsteps of their grandparents and parents and other relatives who’ve made an impact,” Miller said. “Volunteer work is an essential part of one’s life, and I think that it’s just what a good Jewish citizen does. If recognition comes, that’s wonderful. If not, I just want to make an impact where I can.”