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Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel
432 Scotland Road
South Orange, NJ 07079

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Release Date: Monday, July 14, 2014

Media Contact: Caryl Bixon-Gordon (201) 796-7788

West Orange Resident Will Focus on Fostering Deeper Connections to Judaism and TSTI Community, Leadership Development during Two-Year Term

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J., July 14, 2014 – Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) in South Orange has installed Craig Krandel as board president, effective July 1. Krandel previously served the Reform synagogue community as treasurer and a trustee-at-large, and was also a member of the board of TSTI’s Gates Foundation, an endowment fund. The temple’s board consists of 16 trustees and an 8-person executive committee.

A resident of West Orange, Krandel said the key agenda items during his two-year term will be to foster a deeper connection with Judaism and with Israel among temple members and to develop programs to groom future community leaders. A recent trip to Israel with his wife, Judy, had a strong impact on the couple and their feelings of Jewish identity. “Now more than ever before, a progressive religious voice is important,” Krandel said. “Our congregation is particularly poised to offer such insight and commitment.”

Krandel noted that TSTI members are actively engaged in current programs that address their diverse needs and interests. However, he sees a clear need to continue to create welcoming programs that encourage renewed member participation and communal connections in unique ways. “As a board and through our various initiatives, we want to come up with new ways to increase members’ interest in all that TSTI has to offer, and engage them in meaningful, inclusive activities and additional volunteer opportunities,” said Krandel.

As an example he cites the synagogue’s new (RE)Connections committee. Formed in response to member feedback, the group develops social and cultural programs for adults ages 45 and up who want to rekindle old friendships and form new ones. An inaugural event held last month was attended by close to 60 members. “I look forward to working with the board to make sure our programs serve to deepen our connection to one another as well as the wider community.”

Krandel has observed that across many institutions, finding well-prepared and willing leaders for boards and committees has become increasingly challenging. He plans to expand the breadth of TSTI’s lay leadership by developing a training program that will ensure, in his words, “a deep bench of future leaders.” He added that with several new board members starting this month along with him, “We have opportunities to apply fresh thinking to life at TSTI, and make some positive changes for our congregation.”

Above all else, Krandel feels inspired to help build and perpetuate Jewish life, especially in light of his experiences in Israel. “The foundation is community. Without strong community, there is no Jewish future,” he said. “I am inspired and enthused to work with our clergy, staff and board to strengthen what generations before us have created here at TSTI.”

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel is a vibrant Reform congregation located at 432 Scotland Road in South Orange, N.J., that offers Jewish preschool, Religious school, teen programs, lifelong learning for adults and a full complement of religious services and cultural programs each month. TSTI serves member families from Maplewood, the Oranges, Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills and surrounding areas. For more information, visit


About Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel