CBI’s dedicated staff is here for you. We are happy to answer any questions that you have. Please click on the staff person’s name to send email or call us at one of the numbers below.
Jennifer Smith came to Congregation Beth Israel through a circuitous route beginning in Atlanta, GA. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Behavioral Science at Drew University in NJ. After graduation, Jennifer moved to Sacramento, California to receive her law degree and certificate in Governmental Affairs at University of the Pacific – McGeorge School of Law. After a couple of years in the California legislature, the call of home was too great to ignore, and she moved back to Atlanta. While working at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Jennifer obtained her Masters of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management from Kennesaw State University.
Jennifer spent 8 years at the JCC in Atlanta, working as the Program Director in the Sports, Camps & Fitness Department. While leading the Team Atlanta delegation at the San Antonio Maccabi Games, she met her now-husband Daniel. Jennifer jokes that if he lived anywhere else but Austin, they’d be living in Atlanta right now, but he was lucky that she liked Austin. Jennifer and Daniel welcomed Joshua Aaron into their family in February 2008.
Director of Youth Education and Engagement
Carly Cera serves CBI as our Director of Youth Education and Engagement. She grew up in Austin and at CBI, staying connected long after graduation. After serving on the full-time staff for the past five years as Director of Community Engagement and Youth Group Advisor, she is really looking forward to taking on this new role. Through the merging of youth engagement with education, Carly hopes to help build a strong community of students, parents and teachers who know and live Jewish values. Carly has a Master’s Degree in education and has taught school in both Israel and the U.S. Carly and her husband Ted are proud parents to two young, energetic, funny and loving boys who really feel at home at CBI–Cameron (2014) and Devon (2016).
Director of Membership Services
Pamela Hanna grew up in the Houston area but has lived in Austin since 1993. She started working at Beth Israel in July 2006. Pam likes working at CBI because “I get to see the CDC kids every day which is fun – especially the children learning to walk.” She also loves that every day at CBI, she gets to assist members that she has formed friendships with. Aside from her daily work at CBI, it makes her feel good to shop for baked goods and cookies for Onegs, help set up and prepare for upcoming programs, working the door for the Annual Gala, or greeting members and guests at High Holy Day Services. Every year, Pam has begun to look forward to the community and the rituals that she gets to be a part of, such as the Passover seder and hearing the shofar. Since she started working at CBI she has become married and had a son who occasionally joins her at CBI.
Director of Community Engagement
After a 37-year career in the software business, Harold Wilensky, a longtime member of CBI, has joined our staff as Director of Community Engagement. In this role he wants to focus on improving how we serve our members and reaching out to the unaffiliated Jewish community. Harold has been a member of several CBI committees over the years. He served on the Board of Trustees for five years, two of which were as VP of Worship. Harold and his wife Lauren have 3 adult children, two of which are in the tech industry and one who is a journalist for a Jewish newspaper. Harold and Lauren enjoy live music and trying out new restaurants.
Executive Assistant to the Clergy
Sam Rosenberg grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ and moved to New York City to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he earned a BFA in Drama. Soon after finishing college, Sam began his administrative career by taking the position of Events Coordinator at Central Synagogue in Manhattan, and followed up with taking the position of Office Manager at Park Avenue Synagogue on the Upper East Side. After 13 years in New York City, Sam and his wife, Campbell relocated to Austin to be closer to family. They couldn’t be happier with their decision to move to Austin.
Sam is a large fan of football and basketball. He can be heard each week talking about his hometown teams, the Eagles and the Sixers, on his podcast.
Sarah Jew is the Education Coordinator at Congregation Beth Israel. Sarah has worked at CBI for 8 years, beginning as a 1st grade religious school teacher before she was hired as office staff. Sarah celebrated consecration, became Bat Mitzvah, and was confirmed at CBI! She loves working at the synagogue she grew up at and is passionate about supporting the growth of our youngest Jewish learners. Sarah says the best part of her job is getting to know people of all ages in the community over time and building strong relationships with them.
CBI’s longest-serving employee is Tony Davila. Tony has managed physical operations at Beth Israel since 1991. As Senior Custodian, he sets up all events, including onegs, weddings, and bar and bat mitzvahs. He works Sundays through Thursdays, so he can be available during Sunday religious school.