LESLIE SPORN, who has served the Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI) community in South Orange since 2001, is retiring as executive director. She was honored at a Havdalah service and party on May 18.
“For 18 years, Leslie has been my partner, counsel, conscience, and, at times, my critic, and I am a better rabbi because of her,” said TSTI’s Rabbi Daniel Cohen. “Her contributions to TSTI are immeasurable.”
Sporn, a resident of Short Hills, said she has seen many changes at TSTI over the years. “We’ve successfully reached out to younger families to engage them, and they are enjoying a deeper, richer involvement here.
“TSTI is enriched by its diversity, and we delight in that,” Sporn said, crediting the “skills, talents, and sensitivities of our clergy and staff,” for making the synagogue “a comfortable spiritual home for so many different people.”
“Leslie is fierce in her love of Judaism and…her love and care of our sacred community,” said Rabbi Alexandra Klein, TSTI’s associate rabbi.
Sporn “has always put the needs of our congregants first,” said TSTI religious school director Mindy Schreff, “and has been a friend, mentor, and confidante to so many.”
Cantor Rebecca Moses lauded Sporn, saying “she has always made sure TSTI is a happy place to do the real work of our synagogue….”
Sporn’s legacy, said TSTI president Max Weisenfeld, “is in how well so many of our processes work to keep our community open and transparent.”
As executive director, Sporn said, her mission has been “to further Judaism in the world in my own small way. It’s holy work, and I’m honored I’ve been able to do that here, making Judaism more accessible to more people in whatever way is meaningful to them.”