Programs for Educators





Congregation Beth Israel 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd.
Houston, TX




Congregation Emanu El 1500 Sunset Boulevard
Houston, TX 77005




Congregation Beth Yeshurun 4525 Beechnut Street
Houston, TX 77096



Teacher Grants:

The Federation offers grants to teachers to enable them to attend Jewish educational conferences. 


Download a Teacher Grant Request Form

Teacher Placement:

The Federation assists schools and teachers with staffing needs and job placement. Resumes may be sent to Lisa Klein to be forwarded to Jewish schools any time throughout the year.


Click on the EDUCATION JOBS link on the website home page to view the latest job openings in the Jewish schools.


Teacher E-mail Connection:



The Federation maintains a list of Hebrew tutors available in the Houston community.


Add your name to the tutor list or contact us for a referral.


Contact Information:

Lisa Klein, Managing Director

Jewish Education Department
(713) 729-7000, ext. 330





The Irving L. Samuels Outstanding Teacher Awards for Judaic Studies are presented annually to two outstanding Jewish educators in the Greater Houston area whose current primary role is classroom teaching in Judaic subject matter. This award comes with $1,500 to use towards a Jewish educational experience and an additional $300 to purchase materials for the classroom.  These awards are made possible by proceeds from the Irving L. Samuels Outstanding Teacher Award Fund of the Houston Jewish Community Foundation. A Samuels Award recipient also will be recognized as a regional winner of the Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education, which comes with a $500 prize.


Prior recipients include: Blanche Abramovitz z”l, Rabbi Todd Doctor, Cantor Diane Dorf, Michael Duke, Rina Erlichman, Rivka Fishman, Vered Gadot, Ilana Giveon, Elisa Goldstein, Ellen Heffler, Hana Karny, Carrie Keith, Rabbi Eliezer Kessler, Carol Levin, Laurie Levy, Elaine Lupovitch, Judy Maislos, Judy Ney, Rhoda Nichaman, Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky, Royee Phillips, Harris Pikus z”l, Mindeleah Pollak, Richard Preble, Pat Rose, Sharon Rosenthal, Charlotte Roth, Dr. Irving Rothman, Alan Rusonik, Esther Saghian, Marsha Schneider z”l, Fiona Schicker, Dolph Simon, Judy Stein, Devora Urkowitz z”l, Todd Weiss, David Wizig, Debbie Wizig, Hava Wolf


The 2019 Irving L. Samuels Outstanding Teacher Awards for Judaic Studies recipients are Diane Adler of Temple Sinai and Fraydee Wender of Yeshivat Torat Emet.  The community is invited to honor these teachers at the Federation’s annual Teacher Appreciation Evening on Thursday, May 16, at 7 pm at the ERJCC.



The Harold Reingold Yavneh Award for Jewish Educators is presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston to a professional for outstanding contributions to the field of Jewish education in Greater Houston. Nominations for the Yavneh Awards are solicited from the community-at-large.

Look for this award in 2020.




The Leo Horvitz Yavneh Award for Lay Leaders is presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston to a lay leader for outstanding contributions to the field of Jewish education in Greater Houston. Nominations for the Yavneh Awards are solicited from the community-at-large.


Look for this award in 2021.



Contact Information:
Lisa Klein
Managing Director

Jewish Education Department

(713) 729-7000, ext. 330

Professional Development


Houston Jewish Educators Online Professional Learning Community is an online network for all teachers in Houston’s Jewish schools.  Hosted on Edmodo, this online PLC offers opportunities to network with other teachers across schools, share resources and learn new tools and strategies from the resources currently posted in the forum.  Mindy Gold of ​EdtechMMG is the facilitator of the Houston Jewish Educators Online PLC and she has facilitated several technology-based online seminars with more to come.   Links to the recordings of past seminars are posted in the PLC.  To register and be part of this innovative way to connect to each other, contact Lisa Klein for your “school code” and then go to to complete the easy registration.  Make sure to say “yes” to receiving notifications.


Morim L’Chaim provides mentors, master educators, to work one on one with teachers in the Congregation Religious schools - 10 mentors work in 13 of our schools including Chabad West Houston, Congregations Beth El, Beth Israel, Beth Yeshurun, Brith Shalom, Emanu El, Jewish Community North, Or Ami, Shaar Hashalom, Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, Beth Tikvah, Beth Torah and Temple Sinai.  Teacher excellence is the focus of this professional development program and provides personal support through appropriate and impactful training and mentorship so teachers can implement the best educational experiences possible. The goal is to develop the kind of teachers that inspire students to make personal connections to Judaism that will last a lifetime. 


Yom Moreh is the Federation's annual back to school professional development seminar held each August for congregational school teachers. Yom Moreh 2018 is scheduled for August 19, 2018.


The Early Childhood Teachers Seminar is a full day of professional development for all teachers in Houston's 11 Early Childhood programs. The 2018 EC Teachers Seminar is scheduled for November 5, 2018.


The Jewish Federation facilitates the following educator networks:


Special Education professionals network - Day school counselors and resource and special education teachers meet to discuss the current needs of students in the day schools and the best way to meet those needs. Collaboration is the focus of this group to enhance the resources and support available to the schools. 

Hebrew Teachers Network - Hebrew language teachers from the Jewish day schools and Congregational religious schools.  Teachers share resources, network with each other on best practices in teaching and curricula, and engage in professional development. 

Israel Educators Network – Day school and Congregational school teachers shares resources, lessons, ideas and activities to encourage meaningful and engaging Israel education across the community.

Suicide Prevention/Mental Health School committee – in collaboration with the Jewish Family Service and its community wide Mental Health Initiative, this committee brings people from the education community together to focus on support and resources for educators and students for mental health issues.


Shinui – Houston is a founding member of Shinui, the national network for innovation in part time Jewish education.   The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston works with congregational principals to explore innovative models of congregational education through the Congregational School Principals’ Network. The Federation also connects educators across communities for deeper exploration of innovative models.  The Congregational schools are committed to providing successful programs which include new models, best practices, incorporating experiential learning, out of the box programs and engaging activities that motivate children and their families to become active lifelong learners. This model of success is encouraged throughout all Professional Development initiatives to help the teachers leading these educational experiences to become outstanding models of the best teaching practices, well-educated in Jewish content, model Jewish values and ideals and have the ability to engage the students in impactful experiences that bring meaning and personal connections to the Jewish content.  In addition to Houston, participating communities in Shinui include Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Toronto.


Contact Information:

Lisa Klein, Managing Director
Jewish Education Department
(713) 729-7000, ext. 330

The Shirley Barish Israel Educators' Institute

The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston developed The Shirley Barish Israel Educators Institute as a response to a community need to create change regarding Israel education for synagogue religious schools in the Greater Houston area. The focus of the Institute is to educate and train middle and high school teachers about Israel, to become more effective in the classroom and to impart firsthand knowledge and passion about Israel to their students. The Shirley Barish Israel Educators Institute includes pre-trip training sessions, a fully subsidized trip to Israel, as well as regular networking opportunities post-trip.  


The cornerstone of the Institute is the Shirley Barish Israel Educators Trip.  It was created and funded in loving memory of Shirley Barish z"l by the Barish family/Chair King Backyard Store in honor of her commitment to Jewish education, especially Israel education. The inaugural trip took place during the summer of 2014 with 19 educators representing nine Houston area congregations. This unique professional development training, based on several specific Israel curricula, aims to empower teachers and strengthen their Israel identity.