From Daniel Miller’s first job as a CPA, he observed the commandment of tithing meticulously, opening a second checking account where he separated and invested 10% of his salary into local nonprofits. He recalls 9th grade at YULA High School in Los Angeles, “The rabbis explained in Ta’anit 9a through use of a pun that the Torah commandment of tithing, עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר aser te-aser, means that by tithing, one earns the reward of wealth, עַשֵּׂר בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁתִּתְעַשֵּׁר aser b’shvil shetitasher. I took the lesson to heart and looked forward to my working career when I could finally put the lesson into action.”
Miller learned about cryptocurrency in 2013 and began investing. After receiving an MBA in finance from Northwestern-Kellogg he continued diligently giving, now 20% (chomesh, a fifth), and watched his portfolio grow. Facing a cryptocurrency liquidity event in 2021, his philanthropy budget outgrew the capacity of his traditional nonprofit partners. “I put on my consultant hat to consider the largest problem that my tzedakah could impact. I arrived at addressing yeshiva and day school affordability,” Miller said. “This is a very expensive problem that I’ve seen drive people away from the faith and break families apart. It puts the biggest financial burden on the youngest people, which for some is too great to bear.”
With the partnership of the local federation, Miller was able to make major investments in several Jewish day schools in Bergen County to support tuition assistance, capital campaigns and endowments. “Receiving gifts in cryptocurrency is still something new for many nonprofits, though it is getting easier thanks to third-party processors. Partnering with the federation greatly helped with the timeline that we needed,” he said.
Miller connected to Prizmah through his federation partners, and had the opportunity to speak at Prizmah’s 2022 Investor Summit. “The event was a place to inspire people to dream bigger,” he said. “I was exposed to North America’s leaders in Jewish day school education and, enabled by Prizmah’s national reach, I got to see impact I didn’t know was possible.” Miller was proud to have made Prizmah’s first cryptocurrency gift just this year.
As a parent with young children in daycare, Miller credits the determination of people decades ago who founded and funded yeshivas and day schools, and he sees his role as building on those visionary actions to keep schools strong for the next generation. “One lay leader told me his story. His grandfather benefited from financial assistance to make it possible for him to receive a yeshiva education. That person is now the grandfather of day schoolers. It’s incredible that an initial investment in Jewish day schools almost a century ago yielded returns across five generations and will continue deep into the future.”
Reflecting back on the lesson he learned from the Talmud, Miller remains faithful to the wisdom of the rabbis. “What may have started for selfish reasons—making sure to tithe so that I could gain wealth— created deep meaning in my life and changed me in profound ways. Giving is truly the best investment I can ever make.”