South Orange Synagogue will Host Programs for Young Families through Older Adults that are Open to the Public

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI), the Reform synagogue in South Orange, will hold a series of programs for people of all ages in April that are open to the public.

  • Fri., April 7 – TSTI offers its pre-Passover Penne Shabbat dinner at two times, 5:15 p.m. for families with young children up to second grade, followed by the Friday night service at 6:00 p.m.; and at 7:00 p.m. for the congregation immediately following the worship service. The menu features penne pasta (gluten-free available), sauces, salad, challah and dessert. The event is free; pre-registration is required by April 5 to for the Young Family Penne Shabbat dinner and online at for the Congregational Penne Shabbat dinner.

During the early dinner, children and adults will make centerpieces for home Seder tables and packages for the less fortunate in the area. At the congregational dinner, attendees will assemble sandwiches and packages to distribute to the needy. In the spirit of the holiday and cleaning out leavened products, everyone is asked to bring a box of crackers to donate to the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges, which TSTI supports year ‘round.

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  • Wed., April 19 – The monthly Mindfulness Meditation and Chant Group meets at 9:30 a.m., facilitated by Beth Sandweiss. Attendees will experience Hebrew chant and mindfulness meditation using simple melodies, breath and awareness exercises that relax the mind, open the heart and bring our attention to the present moment. The beginning of each session is guided, and no meditation or chanting experience is necessary.


  • Thurs., April 27 – Women of all ages are invited to the Women’s Connection book discussion at 7:00 p.m., led by Rabbi Daniel Cohen; the book to be discussed is “The Waiting Room” by Leah Kaminsky. The multi-generational group gets together for a variety of social, educational, cultural and recreational programs. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.


  • Fri., April 28 – Professor Paul Finkelman, a specialist in American legal history, constitutional law, and race and the law will be the speaker at TSTI’s Shabbat Scholar and Dinner. His topic is “Louis Brandeis: Reformer, Zionist, Jurist and Icon of American Jewish Culture.” He will offer brief remarks during the Friday night service at 6:00 p.m. and will give his presentation at the dinner, which starts at 7:00 p.m. The service is open to all; cost for the dinner is $25 for TSTI members and $36 for non-members. Advance registration is required for the dinner; please register online at

Finkelman is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles and more than 30 books, and his op-eds and shorter pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and Huffington Post. He was the chief expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case and his scholarship on religious monuments in public spaces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Perry (2005). He was recently named the ninth most cited legal historian according to "Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings."

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel (TSTI), located at 432 Scotland Road in South Orange, is a vibrant, inclusive Reform congregation that welcomes Jews by birth or by choice, interfaith, traditional and non-traditional families, and children of all abilities. It offers lifelong learning and creative, enriching programs for all members, from preschoolers and teens to older adults. Its full complement of religious services, early childhood and religious school education, cultural programs and activities foster connection, engagement and community outreach. TSTI's members live in Maplewood, South Orange, West Orange, Short Hills, Millburn, Livingston and surrounding areas. For more information, please visit