Lesley Isenstein (b. 1946)

Lesley Isenstein was born April 17, 1946 in Seattle, Washington. The family joined a Reform synagogue and Lesley went through Confirmation there. She studied for a year at Mills College and then graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English literature, and from UC Davis with a master’s in English. She met her husband Ken in Seattle and after his military service they returned to Portland and raised two children. Lesley began teaching at the Beth Israel religious school but the couple soon left to help start congregation Havurah Shalom.

She served as president of the congregation in 1979 when Ken was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After his death she pulled back from her obligations at Havurah Shalom. In 1987 she married Steve Laveson and they continued to be involved at the synagogue. Lesley also served on the board of Jewish Family and Child Services, the Overseas Special Projects Committee for Federation, and she co-chaired the Melton School in Portland.

Interview(s):