by the Forward

Leslie Gutterman

Temple Beth-El | Providence, Rhode Island | 72 years old

I served with Rabbi Leslie Gutterman first as cantorial soloist, and later, as ordained cantor. He was my first and most profoundly influential mentor, and I know that other rabbis and cantors who served with “Rabbi Les” would make this same claim. His remarkable capacity for kindness, patience, humor, insight and true menschlichkeit make Rabbi Gutterman not only the rabbi of Temple Beth-El, but also the rabbi of Providence, Rhode Island. He is able to be at once the conscience of the city and the teacher and friend of each person who meets him. Rabbi Les has taught by example that one person can quietly touch thousands of lives, and that deciding to remain constant and loyal to one community can be as satisfying as the status one might attain elsewhere. And did I mention his humor and humility? His stories during High Holiday children’s services are a delight, and keep Judaism relevant and alive for next generations. Rabbi Les set me on my path and shaped my cantorate. In that way, his influence continues to communities beyond his own. When Leslie Gutterman is your rabbi, he is your teacher and your friend.

— Ida Rae Cahana + 1 other nomination

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