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 whom 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.
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.
CDC Executive Director
Zoe Miller has been heavily involved in Jewish Early Childhood education for several years. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education/Liberal Arts and a Master’s in Teaching and English from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the CDC, Zoe was the curriculum director at Shalom Austin’s Early Childhood Program.
Executive Assistant to the Clergy
Trish Ivey serves CBI as the Executive Assistant to the Clergy. Trish and her husband, Logan, recently relocated from Santa Rosa, CA to the Great State of Texas. As “empty nesters” they felt this was a good time to move and experience living in a different place. Trish has family here and has always felt like Texas was her home. Their daughter, Katelyn, is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Marketing. In their spare time, Trish and Logan enjoy exploring the Austin Area, wine tasting, and hanging out with family and friends.
CDC Assistant Director
Rebecca Taute grew up at Beth Israel and is an alumna of our education program. Becca attended high school in Israel and she brings a great deal of enthusiasm and love of children to her job.
Social Justice Fellow
Lori Adelman has been an Austinite since 2006. She is originally from Skokie, IL, just outside Chicago, but can now say “y’all” with conviction. She is an attorney with more than 20 years of experience working with non-profits, public interest organizations, and government agencies. As a shared staffer of Temple Beth Shalom and Congregation Beth Israel, Lori is thrilled to be working on behalf of Austin’s Reform community to help create a cohesive social justice initiative. She’s a lifelong Cubs fan but can fake about two minutes of football talk if it’s really necessary. Lori, along with her husband Allan and their daughter Sarah, are active members in the Austin Jewish community.