Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) is a dynamic, inclusive Reform congregation that offers numerous ways for members to connect with and celebrate being part of the Jewish community and the world. Welcoming Jews by birth or by choice, interfaith, traditional and non-traditional families, and children of all abilities, TSTI provides lifelong learning and enriching programs for all members through a full complement of religious services, early childhood and religious school education, cultural programs, and activities that foster connection, engagement and community outreach in a joyful, judgment-free environment. TSTI is located at 432 Scotland Road in South Orange, drawing members from Maplewood, South Orange, West Orange, Short Hills, Millburn, Livingston and surrounding areas. For more information, visit www.tsti.org.

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TSTI Celebrates 2021 Confirmation Class
AIDS Memorial Quilt Comes to TSTI in South Orange
TSTI Summer Camp Volunteer Pays a Gift Forward
For Some TSTI Members, It’s All in the Family
TSTI Ushers in Sukkot with Students and Families
TSTI Religious School Gets Off to a Musical Start
TSTI Educators Attend Hidden Sparks Workshop
Young Families Enjoy Hanukkah Celebration at TSTI


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Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel

432 Scotland Road • South Orange, NJ 07079


Facts 2020

Media Contact:  Caryn Starr-Gates / (201) 796-7788 / caryn@caryl.com


Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) is a Reform congregation that welcomes all who wish to participate in and celebrate Jewish traditions and rituals. The Temple’s mission is to perpetuate the religious principles and moral values of Judaism through worship, acts of social justice, study of Torah and community service. A member of the Union for Reform Judaism, TSTI is an inclusive community, open to all, with a diverse congregation comprised of Jews by birth and by choice, interfaith, traditional and non-traditional families, and children of all abilities and ages.

Located in South Orange, New Jersey, TSTI serves member families from Maplewood, the Oranges, Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills and surrounding areas. It is known throughout the region for its innovative programs including worship services, community events, and groups dedicated to a wide array of religious, social and educational interests.

TSTI is committed to developing and supporting a lifelong Jewish experience. It offers programs for members at all stages of their lives, from preschoolers and teens to empty nesters and older adults. The Temple’s schools provide a progressive Jewish education to hundreds of children, from pre-K to Grade 12. Led by Rabbi Daniel Cohen and Rabbi Alexandra “Allie” Klein, TSTI reaches out to new families and welcomes them to a vibrant community committed to the values and beliefs of Reform Judaism.


Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel is known for its creative programs that address the needs and interests of an active, diverse congregation in the 21st century. For example, the Temple seeks to follow the biblical commandment of Bal Taschit (“Do not destroy”) through its commitment to safeguarding the environment. Under the leadership of Rabbi Cohen, TSTI launched a series of Green initiatives and participates in the GreenFaith certification program, an environmental leadership program for houses of worship.

TSTI was the first congregation to receive an ABLE (Access-Belonging-Life-Enrichment) Award from the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest N.J. This accreditation recognizes that the Temple has met a comprehensive list of requirements to ensure a fully accessible experience for its members, with barrier-free access, Braille signage and sign language translation among the many criteria. In 2015 the synagogue was designated as an Exemplar Congregation by the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) Ruderman Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center.

TSTI is also a leader in the integration of technology in religious institutions. This was demonstrated when the Temple received a $20,000 grant from The Carvel Foundation for a state-of-the-art technology lab that provides students online access to a broad array of Hebrew-language learning tools. The synagogue also offers live streaming video of High Holy Day services as well as Shabbat and other services, so that anyone who wishes to participate in services – and cannot be physically present – has the option to connect to TSTI from wherever they may be.

The Temple has long been known for the quality of its schools and youth programs. Today, the Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education, the Linda and Rudy Slucker Religious School and Hebrew High educate and inspire hundreds of children from pre-school to Grade 12. TSTI’s youth programs use progressive teaching approaches and cutting-edge technology to impart the beliefs and values of Reform Judaism to today’s youth. The synagogue’s Hebrew High program provides teens a time and a place to socialize, learn and explore life within a Jewish context. Embracing the inclusive spirit of Reform Judaism, TSTI also offers programs designed for families with children with special needs.



Every member of the Temple’s clergy team shares pastoral duties. Several of the Temple leaders also are involved in this area of synagogue life, either individually or through the Caring Community committee.

Rabbi Daniel Cohen was ordained in 1993 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York. For the last 20 years he has served Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) in South Orange, New Jersey, first as assistant rabbi and as the senior rabbi since 1999.

Rabbi Cohen has brought the Torah commandment of bal taschit (“do not destroy”) to bear on Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel’s green initiatives and its participation in the GreenFaith certification program. He has advocated for the needs of marginalized populations and oversaw the renovation of TSTI’s sanctuary to become barrier free. Actively involved in efforts to promote a democratic and religiously tolerant society in the State of Israel, Rabbi Cohen participates in the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and is a member of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA).

Long interested in all things electronic, Rabbi Cohen has spearheaded the integration of technology into many TSTI activities. Through his efforts, the synagogue serves as a 21st century model for what religious institutions can accomplish through technology. This includes computer-based lessons taught on iPads and Macintosh computers and a computer lab in which students Skype with children in sister city Nehariyah, Israel. Rabbi Cohen has developed a TSTI-branded bar/bat mitzvah tutorial iBook which is available as a download from Apple’s iBookstore, and created a multimedia, interactive Passover hagaddah.

In addition to his rabbinic ordination, Rabbi Cohen holds a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from HUC-JIR and a D.Min. in pastoral counseling from HUC-JIR and the Post-Graduate Center for Mental Health. He is also a Certified Bereavement Facilitator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

Rabbi Allie Klein joined TSTI in 2015 after her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).

During her time as a rabbinic student, she served as the co-coordinator of Synagogue 3000’s pilot initiative with Jewish young adults called “Next Dor NYC;” the pastoral counseling intern at Central Synagogue in Manhattan; the student rabbi at Beth Sholom Temple of Fredericksburg, VA; and the rabbinic intern at DOROT in Manhattan, a leading social service organization serving the elderly. Rabbi Klein was honored during her time at HUC-JIR to be a Bonnie and Daniel Tisch Rabbinical Fellow, which enabled her to study innovative religious practices in both Jewish and interfaith settings.

Prior to entering HUC-JIR, Rabbi Klein worked at Temple Beth Shalom of Needham, MA as the full-time youth educator, overseeing the 6-12th grade programming for the congregation. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Haverford College in 2007.

Cantor Joan Finn has been a member of TSTI since 1984. Over the years, she has been the head of the synagogue’s Volunteer Choir and its Outreach Committee. She attended two summer programs of Para-Rabbinic Study at the HUC-JIR, and studied at both Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Hawaii for her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance. She was invested as Cantor in 2010 by the Academy of Jewish Music in Riverdale, NY.

Cantor Rebecca Moses joined TSTI in July 2012. She was invested as a Cantor in 2009 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where she received her master’s degree in sacred music in 2008. She holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.

Prior to becoming part of the TSTI community, Cantor Moses served for three years as Cantor-educator at Temple Anshe Sholom in Hamilton, Ontario, where she officiated at all Shabbat and holiday services, coordinated the B’nai Mitzvah program, ran the religious school, helped form the adult and youth choirs, and developed ongoing adult enrichment programs in Jewish music and Torah cantillation. Cantor Moses possesses a longtime love of teaching and enjoys educating TSTI’s children in various capacities.


Leslie Sporn is the Executive Director of TSTI and oversees all of its daily operations. She works to engage and assist congregants while helping the Temple’s leadership and volunteers achieve their goals. Leslie has held the title of Executive Director of a Reform synagogue since 1993 and has been serving at TSTI since 2000. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (currently the URJ) from 1999 to 2003, and was a Senior Member of the board of the National Association of Temple Administers (NATA) from 2000 to 2006.

Mindy Schreff, the Director of the Rudy and Linda Sluker Religious School, has worked as a Jewish educator of children, adults and families since 1997. With a Bachelors degree from Pratt Institute and a Masters degree from Poly Tech Institute, she has also completed programs in Jewish education, Holocaust education, family education, Storahtelling training and service learning for teens. In addition, Mindy has been a mentor in Moreh with Mentors since 2004 and is the 2009 recipient of the Hoffman Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She combines her commitment to tikkun olam with her skills as a fiber artist, knitting, crocheting and quilting items for people in need.

Carol Paster has been the Director of the Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education since 1998, after teaching for seven years in its preschool and kindergarten programs. Carol holds a Bachelors degree in Art Education, a Masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education and completed coursework in the Jewish Early Childhood Education Certificate program at Gratz College. She has received the Hoffman Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and several LaZuz grants for family outreach programs. Carol has served on the Board of Directors of the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism and chaired their annual national conference. She serves as Secretary for Habitat for Humanity Newark’s Board of Directors as well as co-chair of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build.

Tracy Horwitz grew up in the TSTI congregation and has worked in the field of Jewish communal service at JCC-MetroWest and at TSTI since 1990. As the Temple’s Program Director, she interacts with the entire congregation, from pre-school children to senior adults, with a special focus on reaching out to high school students. A licensed social worker, Tracy develops support groups and mental health programs for all ages. She also coordinates the Temple’s adult education programs and its thriving youth group, STISY. Tracy earned a Bachelors degree from Syracuse University, Newhouse School and a Masters in Social Work from Yeshiva University.


Temple Sharey Tefilo: The congregation began in 1874, when 10 merchants from Orange, New Jersey met in a small room above a storefront on Cleveland Street to establish Congregation Sharey Tefilo. In 1895, the congregation moved to another building in Orange, which served as the congregation’s home until 1927, when they relocated to Prospect Street in East Orange. Founded as an Orthodox synagogue, the congregation affiliated with the Reform movement in 1921. Its membership increased dramatically in the years following World War II, as Jews migrated to the New Jersey suburbs.

Temple Israel: In April of 1948, 229 families from Sharey Tefilo established Temple Israel in South Orange. Within a year, Temple Israel’s congregation had purchased the historic Kip-Riker mansion on two acres of land, which remains the site of TSTI today. Temple Israel grew in both size and programs, with expansions of the facility taking place in 1953 and in 1963.

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel: The joining of the two Temple families into a single congregation occurred in 1982, when the members of Sharey Tefilo carried their Torahs into Temple Israel in South Orange. Today, the congregation of 900+ families comes together for worship, learning, service and social programs in TSTI’s welcoming sanctuary and multi-purpose building.


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Website: www.tsti.org