Simchat Torah Honorees – Rachel & Michael Miller and Mady Donoff

Each year at Simchat Torah, we complete the Torah reading cycle and with great joy begin our reading once again with Bereisheit (Genesis).  An important part of our celebration is a special ceremony honoring Temple Emanuel members who have made major contributions to the life of our community.

Rachel and Michael Miller – Kallat & Hatan Torah
and Mady Donoff – Kallat Breisheit.


Rachel and Michael Miller have been members of Temple Emanuel as a couple since they were married by Rabbi Chiel in the old sanctuary in 1985. Rachel grew up in the temple, the daughter of Holocaust survivors Barouh and Channah Berkovits, and became a Bat Mitzvah on the same bima in 1975. All four of the Miller children became B’nai Mitzvot in the Temple as well. Rachel taught in the Temple Emanuel preschool and served as the head of the nursery school PTA for several years, as well as serving on the Religious School Committee. She served on the search committees that resulted in the hiring of both Rabbi Gardenswartz and Rabbi Robinson. Rachel is currently Co-Editor of the temple bulletin.  Michael sang for many years in the Temple Emanuel choir, and is seen in shul at the High Holidays, usually arriving late.

Two years ago, with all four children out of the house in college or beyond, Rachel and Michael began participating in the Hospitality Homes program. The program arranges home stays for families coming from all over the United States to Boston for medical care. They have hosted nearly a dozen families for up to two weeks, sharing space, meals, and the affection of their 2 cats.

Since January 17, 2017, three days before the Trump inauguration, Rachel and Michael have hosted a Syrian refugee couple and their three children, ages 13,10, and 5.

Rachel is a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and is a professional pastry chef. Michael is a Primary Care physician working in Dedham. They sing together in the Zamir Chorale of Boston, where Rachel serves as president of the choir.


Mady and her husband Bruce have been members of Temple Emanuel for 42 years, joining the “Couples Club” in 1975. They were especially drawn to Rabbi Chiel’s warm welcome and the friendly outreach of members. Their amazing adult children, Elizabeth and Daniel, were Bat/ Bar Mitzvahed in the “old” Temple and attended TE religious school and Prozdor.

Over the years, Mady’s Temple involvement grew and she served on several committees, chairing “Shabbat Unplugged”, the Sisterhood Torah Fund and the Prozdor-Hebrew High School Committee. Mady and Bruce served on the Rabbi Chiel Retirement Committee, were division co-chairs of the Capital Building Campaign and co-chaired Temple Emanuel’s 75th Anniversary year-long celebration. Each new project brought new friends and a deeper commitment to the shul. Mady and Bruce attend Shabbat morning services regularly, grateful for the wonderful clergy and the inclusiveness of the services.

In 2006, Mady retired from a career of 30+ years in public education, both as a speech and language therapist and elementary school guidance counselor in the Brookline Public schools. As a counselor, she worked closely with neighboring Jewish Day schools to facilitate special education services for their students. Understanding the needs of these students led her to join the Board of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. Other volunteer time has been devoted to Hadassah, Mayyim Hayyim, The Miriam Fund and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Mady has served on the Temple Board of Directors for several years. As Education and Inclusion Vice President, she wrote the grant for Temple Emanuel to become a Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Partner and she helped start the Temple’s B’Tselem Inclusion Committee. To say that Mady loves children is an understatement, and she brings that love and dedication to her collaboration with the preschool and religious school directors.

Mady credits her involvement in Hadassah with giving her the confidence and experience to volunteer in other Jewish community programs, but participating in TE life has been a uniquely gratifying experience. When she walks into the atrium on Tuesday mornings for the weekly Sisterhood Study Group or returns on any given evening for a meeting, she always feels right at home.

We thank the “Dr. Trudy Karger Family Education Fund” for its generous sponsorship of this holiday celebration.