Programs for Educators

Upcoming Events



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


Nominations for the 2018 Irving L. Samuels Outstanding Teacher Awards for Judaic Studies are open.  Nominations are due no later than February 14, 2018. Click here for a nomination form.



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.


Nominations for the 2017 awards are open through April 16, 2017. Click here for the nomination form.




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.


The award will not be given in 2017.


Contact Information:
Lisa Klein
Managing Director

Jewish Education Department

(713) 729-7000, ext. 330

2016-17 Professional Development Programs


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. 



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. 

Early Childhood Community of Practice  - in its second year, teachers from Bertha Alyce,School, Beth Yeshurun Day School, Robert M. Beren Academy, the Shlenker School and Torah Day School focus on leadership skills and best practices in Jewish early childhood education. 

Early Childhood Community of Practice for New Teachers - Designed for teachers with less than 5 years of experience, teachers from Bertha Alyce,School, Beth Yeshurun Day School, Ellen Bonuik Early Childhood Center of the ERJCC West Houston, Robert M. Beren Academy and UOS Goldberg Montessori School network together and focus on best practices in Jewish early childhood education. 

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.



Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI) is a program that strengthens the Jewish community by developing educational leaders – teachers of teachers – who are spearheading powerful and innovative professional development experiences for their institutions and communities.  Partnering with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston supports Federation Education staff and congregational school principals from Congregation Beth Yeshurun and Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism as participants in the 7th cohort of MTEI.  These professionals will bring back their learning to share with their colleagues in the Federation’s Congregational School principals network.


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 be outstanding models of the best teaching practices, well-educated in Jewish content and 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.



Program Highlights of Professional Development for the year:


The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston hosted 2 professional development programs on August 15, 2016 to welcome the teachers back to work:


  • The Jewish Federation’s annual Early Childhood Teachers Seminar, hosted by Congregation Emanu El, was attended by over 200 teachers from 10 Jewish early childhood programs and featured Shira Kline, aka Shir LaLa,.  Shira presented G!d Talk, helping our teachers with ways to bring the concept of G-d into their classrooms in language relatable to the children.


  • Teachers from the Shlenker School and Torah Day School welcomed Dr. Andrew Ordover, Catapult Learning’s Vice President of Product Development, for a training hosted by the Shlenker School entitled Teaching for the Stretch.  The focus of this training was to share teaching strategies to encourage students to think analytically and stretch their minds!


On January 3, 2017, teachers from Beth Yeshurun Day School, the Shlenker School and Torah Day School welcome David Crumbine, a two-time national Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award winner, and vice principal, fifth grade English teacher and Grade Level Chair at the original KIPP Academy in Houston, Texas where he's taught since 1999.  His topics included How to teach students to navigate difficult conversations so they solve many of their own social problems with other students without a single teacher's help or time and How to teach students to analyze their daily and challenging decisions to change the cultural fabric of the school environment.   The Federation brings the schools together for Professional development through the Day School Heads of School and Secular Principals Networks. 

Both the August 15th program with Dr. Ordover and this program with David Crumbine are funded by Title II funding through the Day Schools.  


February 19, 2017 – Teacher Track at Yom LImmud



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.


Contact Information:

Lori Actor

Israel Experiences Coordinator

(713) 729-7000 extension 329