SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — When Beth Blackman walked into Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange for her job interview to become the new executive director, she knew she’d found the right fit.
“Everyone on the search committee was so welcoming and just walking into the building made my heart sing,” said Blackman, who is the Reform synagogue’s new executive director. She was most recently the administrator at Temple Beth Or in Washington Township in Bergen County, where, as a long-time member, she’d also served as temple president in the early 2000s. She succeeds Leslie Sporn, who retired this past spring after 18 years as TSTI’s executive director.
Blackman, who resides in Englewood, left Temple Beth Or as that synagogue prepares to merge with Temple Beth El of Northern Valley in Closter.
“One chapter is closing and another is beginning,” she said.
Blackman said she has found great reward in her synagogue work, supporting the clergy and helping members with both their happy and sad occasions.
“I really found my niche as administrator and ran with it,” she said. “I love making things happen in the background so that what you see and experience as a congregant is special.”
Temple President Max Weisenfeld said, “TSTI is a special place, and it is important that our executive director be able to recognize and contribute meaningfully to that spirit. What struck me about Beth, beyond her calm competence and experience, was her dedication to Judaism, community and synagogue life. I could tell immediately that she got us, and to me, that is everything.”