Rabbi Estelle Gottman-Mills has served as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Chadash since its founding in 2004.
Rabbi Gottman-Mills received her undergraduate degree in Jewish history from the University of Michigan in 1987, and a Masters Degree in Hebrew letters and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Cincinnati in 1992. She was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina in a small congregation where she fondly remembers the family-like warm atmosphere that made the congregation feel like a second home. During her four years in rabbinical school in Cincinnati, she served as the first student rabbi for the newly formed congregation Beth Shalom in Cary, North Carolina. She loved the opportunities that were afforded her as she helped this young, very vibrant congregation develop both ritually and educationally.
Rabbi Mills has made youth a central component of her rabbinate, and feels it is important that services be welcoming and attractive to congregants of all ages. She has served as the regional advisor of NFTY-SW, the Reform movements youth program. In addition, at each of her pulpits, she has assumed a very active role with both the religious school and youth group. She continues to love Jewish summer camp and spends two weeks each summer on faculty at Union for Reform Judaism’s Goldman camp in Zionsville, Indiana.
Following ordination, Rabbi Mill’s first position was at Temple Beth Israel/Shaare Zedek in Lima, Ohio. Rabbi Mills also served as educator of Congregation B’nai Israel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as rabbi/educator of Congregation Kol Am in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin whose membership doubled under her tenure, and as rabbi/educator of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Ames, Iowa. In all of these positions, Rabbi Mills’ brought vibrancy and new direction to the religious school where she prided herself for making the magic of camp come alive in a religious school setting. She is especially proud of the Family education program she established in St. Louis which replaced the traditional religious school model and of the growth, warmth, and vibrancy that characterizes Kol Chadash.
Rabbi Mills is married to Rabbi Steven Mills. They have three children: Rafi, Sivan, and Noa.