Rabbi Lisa Named “Woman of Valor”
The Jewish Federation of Ventura County this week presented its Woman of Valor honor to Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Torah in Ventura. The Federation’s Executive Director, Cheri DeKofsky, presented the recognition at the organization’s 25th anniversary Women’s Philanthropy luncheon on March 24, at Spanish Hills Country Club.
Rabbi Hochberg-Miller is in her twentieth year as the rabbi of Temple Beth Torah. She is the longest-tenured rabbi in the Temple’s 78-year history. Her rabbinate is noted for her warm style, her personal connection to adult, teens and children through her passion for prayer, teaching, and social justice issues. As much as she is a part of the life of the synagogue, she is a recognized face in leadership with the interfaith community and in her advocacy work with the City of Ventura regarding the issue of homelessness in Ventura.
Rabbi Hochberg-Miller successfully married the demands of a solo pulpit—teaching, pastoral, preaching, leading worship, administration of a 330-family congregation—with additional rabbinic passions. Her commitment to the values and visions of Reform Judaism propel her involvement as a mentor of 2nd and 3rd year rabbinic students through the Hebrew Union College. She is currently a board member of the Pacific Region of Reform Rabbis.
Her interfaith work led to creating an annual interfaith women’s conference, and, over the years, advocacy for Israel, immigrants, mushroom workers, and interfaith dialogue. Her commitment to community action led to her nomination in 2015 as one of 33 of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Forward newspaper.
When Rabbi Hochberg-Miller was ordained in 1991, there were fewer than 200 women rabbis in the world. In Southern California, she was one of the first women to work full-time in a congregation, with an uninterrupted career dedicated to congregational life and the full-time, active rabbinate. One of her joys has been to watch her students move into Jewish professional work and the rabbinate. Last May, Rabbi Hochberg-Miller was awarded her Doctorate of Divinity through the Hebrew Union College, in honor of her 25th year in the rabbinate.
Rabbi Hochberg-Miller is an active supporter of the Jewish Federation and a longtime member of the Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon Committee. For 18 years, she has helped make Senior Luncheons a premier program of the Federation. Her citation read, in part, “she is always generous with her time and knowledge and represents all the attributes of a “Woman of Valor.”
The Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon featured a special performance by actress Michelle Azur titled “From Bagdad to Brooklyn.”