TSTI History

Temple Sharey Tefilo

Our congregation’s history 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 of Orange. In 1895, the congregation moved to another building in Orange, which served as the congregation’s home until 1927, when Rabbi Stephen Wise dedicated the congregation’s imposing, Grecian-pillared Temple on 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, citing the need for a new type of religious experience, established Temple Israel in South Orange. Within a year, Temple Israel’s congregation had purchased the historic Kip-Riker mansion on two and a half acres of land, the site of our congregation today. Temple Israel grew in both size and innovative programs, with expansions of the facility in 1953 and 1963.

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel

The joining of our two Temple families into a single congregation occurred in 1982, when the 500 members of Sharey Tefilo carried their Torahs into Temple Israel’s sanctuary.

Today, our sacred congregation, Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, continues our proud tradition. We have watched our Temple grow, attract many young members, deepen our roots in the surrounding communities, and develop excellent programming for members from pre-school to senior citizens. As a congregation, we have made significant contributions to the well-being of American Reform Judaism, Israel, and a spiritual, ethical, social, and communal impact in the lives of our Temple family.

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel creates a bridge between the warmth of Jewish tradition and the challenges and excitement of life in the modern world. Throughout the history of our congregation, the ethics and rituals of our people have guided us in creating a vibrant and meaningful Judaism imbued with innovation and relevance.

Today our congregation of 800+ families comes together for worship, learning, service and social programs in TSTI’s warm, welcoming sanctuary and state of the art multi-purpose building.

We invite you to join us…