Abby Miller: Girls Rock! Talks

abby millerAs part of an ongoing series to encourage discussion among teen girls and their parents, Abby, age 17, talks about a common mistake parents make in praising children–and how to correct it.

For more information, contact Girls Rock! at or click here.

Girls Rock! Talks with Abby from Rachel Belin on Vimeo.

Abigail Miller: Diary from Israel

It’s been a recent tradition for rising Jewish high school juniors to spend the summer in a program in Israel. RPette Abigail Miller chose to join the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization’s program that engages in meaningful community service efforts in the Jewish State.  Here is her report on the past week:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today we got to do my favorite part of the whole trip so far, a visit and an opportunity to volunteer at Save a Child’s Heart Foundation (SACH). Before we got to play with the children at the center, we learned about the foundation’s conception and mission. The purpose of SACH is to bring children with congenital heart defects and other cardiac diseases to Israel so that life-saving surgeries can be performed on them by qualified doctors.

We met children of all different ages and nationalities, ranging from 11 months to 11 years old; from Angola to the the Palestinian territories. The most amazing part about the children we saw was that, despite their potentially fatal conditions, they continued to smile and laugh as we talked and played games with them. Although we did not speak their languages, it was easy for us to communicate through our smiles.

The next place we visited was also medical in nature, Magen David Adom (The Red Shield of David). This organization is very much like America’s Red Cross in that they provide medical relief when disasters strike, not only in Israel but in whatever country they are needed. We got a private tour of their headquarters where we learned about the organization and got to see how they respond to and locate distress calls.

After doing our service work and learning for the day, we got to attend BBYO Passport’s Israel dance party with about 400 teens visiting Israel from around the world. While the party was a lot of fun, I enjoyed the opportunity to help put smiles of the children at SACH even more. It was a great day learning how Israel insures they can get as many people as possible the medical attention they need.

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Abigail Miller: Diary from Israel

An RP Contributor Turns Sweet Sixteen

June 28, 2012 will go down in the history books as the date of a memorable Supreme Court decision and the selection of University of Kentucky superstar Anthony Davis as the first pick in the NBA draft.  (Guess which story the Lexington Herald-Leader led with?)

It is also the 16th birthday of our most beloved contributor to The Recovering Politician, RP-ette Abby Miller.

For those interested in celebrating her birthday with her kvelling father, either leave a message in the comments section below, or send a cash donation to the Abigail Miller College Fund, c/o The RP.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Abby!

Abigail Miller: As A Jew, I am a Zionist

I can proudly say, as a Jew I am a Zionist.

All my life, the happenings of the Holocaust have been driven into my head, time after time, school year after school year. It surprised me greatly that many of my classmates didn’t know the tragedies the Holocaust brought to the Jewish people during World War II. 12 million were killed in the Holocaust, half of them being Jews.

So when we learned about the Zionist movement in AP World History class this year, it made sense to me that the Jewish people should have their own homeland to go to.

Before this year, I can honestly say I haven’t really taken much interest in Israel. But now that I’m going to spend half of my summer there, I started to pay attention more closely to the history and the current events going on there.

Sadly, I know that Israel has much criticism. The other day, I was filling out a worksheet for my history class. I had to look up what the term “Displacement of Palestinians” meant. I plugged the phrase into the Google search bar, and I have to say, I was appalled at what I found.

I found an article talking about Israel in the most negative manner I have ever heard. The article described the Zionists and Israelis as cruel perpetrators that celebrate 60 years of Palestinian torture every year on Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s independence day.

That claim didn’t seem right to me. I’ve always been taught that the whole message of Israel was to be a welcoming and peaceful place. Of course I knew that the war between Israel and Palestine had been unending, but to say that it was all Israel’s fault, that for some reason the Jews and Israelis would purposefully want to see the Palestinian’s hurt, as if Zionists had evil masochistic motives.

Confused by this article, I asked my dad the next morning what his stance on the issue was. His answer made a lot more sense to me than the article I read online. My dad said that Israel had always tried to negotiate peace with Palestine, but Palestine always refused. When Israel gained independence, Palestine was the country that declared war on Israel, not the other way around.

So why are there so many misconceptions about Israel? Why are so many people passionate that Israel shouldn’t exist, and that it was created with the destruction of other people? If anyone bothered to crack open a history book, they would see that the United Nations granted Israel to the Zionists. The Zionists didn’t just savagely take territory from Palestine, they did so peacefully.

It bothers me that so many people, including people of the Jewish faith, criticize Israel continuously. But if those people bothered to listen, they would see that all Israel wants is a peaceful state that grants all Jews citizenship and a safe homeland.

Especially with the recent occurrence of Yom Hashoa, Holocaust Remembrance day, we need to think about the tragedies of the holocaust and why Israel came to be. As a Jew I am Zionist, because I find it crucial to have a Jewish homeland in a world where many people of our faith were persecuted unfairly.

As a Jew I am a Zionist because I think it’s necessary to have a country where anti-Semitism is completely absent, and we can feel free to express our Judaism among other people of the same faith. As a Jew I am thankful to have a Jewish homeland, and have something to say at a Passover Seder.

I am a Zionist because I am hopeful that Israel will still be there, when we all say, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

Abigail Miller: Into the Fire

I had only been alive for six years,

my small stature framed against the sad

faces of my mourning family

positioned towards the glass window.

Usually light would spray in from outside

reaching across the painted room

and warm our fingertips.

But not today.

Today it rained soft watery drops

of mixed sadness

and relief.

My parents looked empty

kneeling beside my grandpa’s bed

next to the gray figure

laying about

silenced for eternity.

It brings me back to a year

when my dad flipped the car switch

and played the same CD

over and over again.

The same 15 tracks

over and over again

repeating, echoing, forever in my

youthful head.

I couldn’t understand

why everyone was so sad

what cancer was

and why we couldn’t go to Kings’ Island that year.

“Give us faith give us faith”

I couldn’t understand

that the life was slowly draining out of him

while he seemed so content, laying there in bed

reading me The Lorax

with his outstretched legs

and gray hairy toes

sticking out from under the covers.

“Give us strength give us strength”

I couldn’t understand

why my dad

with his painted smile

had taken to replaying

the same songs over and over again

until Bruce Sprinsgteen

was hardwired into our brains forever.

I couldn’t understand

why our family came

dressed in black, to see my grandpa

the one who I had loved so much

with warmth of happy memories of him

pressed into the empty space of my heart.

No one cried.

“Give us hope give us hope”

I couldn’t understand then.

I was only six.

But now I do.

“Give us love give us love.”

RPTV Friday Video Flashback: Abigail Miller Makes Her TV Debut

Our newest Friend of RP, Abigail Miller, made quite an impression when she made her TV debut at the ripe old age of 22 months.  As you will see at the very end of the Friday Video Flashback below, Abby sits quietly as her older sister — then 4 year old, Emily — steals the spotlight with her adorable bravado, yelling “I’m for Daddy!”

Abigail actually had a unexpected speaking role that wound up on the editing room floor.  After about the seventh take, Abby started to mimic her sister.  Unfortunately, with the pacifier in her mouth, all that came out was “Mmm mmm mmm m!”

Abigail also appeared in an earlier commercial.  Sitting in her high chair while her father recited his lines, Abby went to work on a chocolate popsicle for about 20 minutes. After the tenth take, popsicle fully ingested, Abby lifted her arms and yelled: “All done!”  The director knew better than to rebuf his star, so shooting was shut down for the day.

Another cute aside: In the following ad, the little “future Democrat” holding the Miller for Congress sign about 5 seconds into the video is Conrad Bandaroff, son of the RP’s good friends, Holly and Craig Bandaroff, thoroughbred horse farmers who bred and co-owned Animal Kingdom, winner of last weekend’s Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, the RP didn’t learn this fact until after he placed his wager on Derby Day.

Enjoy “I’m for Daddy”:

Abigail Miller: What Being a Politician’s Daughter Did for Me

Growing up as a politician’s daughter, I’ve learned different skills of those of my peers. 

For example, I know for a fact that most of my friends haven’t spent 3 hours walking around a people-filled building, shakings strangers’ hands and smiling with no underlying emotion until their face hurts.

Most of the time I wouldn’t understand what the purpose of this was, and why every single person we saw would choose to elaborate on how big I’ve gotten since they last saw me five years ago.

I’ve had to go through this a lot throughout my life. Not that it’s entirely a bad thing. The perks of enduring the monotonous activity of being a tag-along to my dad included getting to go the Kentucky Derby, The Governor’s Mansion, and numerous UK basketball games. I actually quite enjoyed these kinds of experiences, despite the fact I had to shake thirty something hands of people who pretended to really know me.

The only time I liked conversing with seemingly random adults was when I got to hear a story about my dad as a kid, or one of my grandpa. Then my smile was truly genuine.

Not until I became a teenager did I understand what all of these skills did for me: the shaking of hands, the formal and smiling visage I put on, and the nod of my head as I pretended to listen to what the adult was droning on about in my presence. I finally began to use these skills outside of the political world, and among the adults of my own community.

Many of my friends don’t have the experience of talking with numerous unfamiliar grownups, and it can be awkward for them just to have a conversation with a teacher or a friend’s parent. As I got older, I realized that adults actually say things worth listening to, especially some of the ones I met with my dad.

I’ll always be able to listen attentively to what people are older than me are saying, and reply back with an intelligent comment. All because I started at an early age, being the little girl I was, shaking hands two sizes bigger then my own.

And for that I want to say thanks, Dad.