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September 1, 2015 | 17th Elul 5775

Emily Grotta


(CLEVELAND, April 22) Rabbi Steven L. Mills, spiritual leader of Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Des Moines, IA, will become regional director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations' Northeast Lakes Council on July 1. Rabbi Mills succeeds Rabbi Elliott Kleinman, who will become the UAHC's Director of Program at its New York headquarters.

As regional director, Rabbi Mills, 42, will be a direct link between the UAHC and the 67 Reform synagogues in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and western New York State, providing technical expertise, resources, and direct counseling on the issues that congregations face daily.

"The leadership of the Northeast Lakes Council is very excited that Steven Mills is joining us," said Dr. David Davidson, the council's president. "Steve is eager and enthusiastic, and he's a bright man, willing to work with lay leadership to move the agenda of the Northeast Lakes Council forward."

Rabbi Mills has served as the rabbi of Temple B'nai Jeshurun, the largest synagogue in the state of Iowa, since June of 2000. As spiritual leader of the congregation, Mills created an adult education program, re-established outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews as a vital component of congregational life, and began a series of highly popular outdoor summer services and picnics. Prior to his work at B'nai Jeshurun, Rabbi Mills served as associate rabbi and educator at Congregation Temple Israel in St. Louis, MO from 1995 to 2000, and assistant rabbi at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, NM.

Always active in civic life, Rabbi Mills regularly participated in community events, serving on the board of the Greater Des Moines Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League of Missouri-Southern Illinois, and as adjunct faculty member in the Religion and Philosophy department at Drake University. An accomplished author and cartoonist, he twice received the Noah Bee Award for Excellence in Editorial Cartooning from the American Jewish Press Association, and recently published his first children's book, Rafi's Search for the Torah Munching Monster.

Rabbi Mills was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1993, and holds a Juris Doctor from Cleveland State University and a B.A. from Miami University of Ohio. A native of Cleveland, he and his wife, Rabbi Estelle Gottman Mills, have three children.


The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues across the United States and Canada. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.


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