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Stefani Carlson 

Director of Congregational Learning

Stefani Carlson is a lifelong Jewish learner, as well as an experienced and innovative educator, leader and mentor. Since graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English Language and Literature (1990), Stefani has lived, learned, and taught in communities in Virginia, Colorado, California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. 

Stefani is a graduate of Cohort 7 of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI), and its partnership Graduate Certificate program in Jewish Education from the University of Cincinnati’s Center for the Study of Jewish Education. She holds a Master of Arts in Educational Studies, with a concentration in Foundations of Education and Social Change, from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the Network for Research in Jewish Education (NRJE) and the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE). She has published articles in Portraits of Jewish Learning: Viewing Contemporary Jewish Education Close-In, a project of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education of Brandeis University, and in the Journal of Jewish Education.

Stefani and her husband, Steve, have two adult sons, Alex and Evan, and are delighted to be making their home in Houston.

Matthew Silverman

Assistant director

Matthew moved to Houston in 2014 and began working at Congregation Emanu El soon afterward. Prior to moving to Houston, he lived in numerous cities including: Seattle, Philadelphia, Jerusalem, New York City, Atlanta and the Washington D.C. area where he was born and raised. He graduated magna cum laude in economics and religion from James Madison University. He also attended the Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he received a Master of Theological Studies degree and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where he received a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies. Matthew has worked and taught in numerous Jewish organizations including: Congregation Dor Tamid outside of Atlanta, Camp Ramah Darom, Hillels of Georgia, and Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Philadelphia. Matthew lives in Houston with his wife, Jill, and two daughters Nava and Miri. They enjoy reading, gardening, fused glass art projects, and chasing their dog.

Becca Schwartzberg


Becca joins the Emanu El community by way of New Orleans. A graduate of Hofstra University with a Publishing Studies Degree and a minor in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Language, Becca's mission is to help energize a new generation of engaged Jewish youth.

Her background includes 10 years of Jewish camping, youth group participation and leadership at NFTY​​​​​​, collegiate Hillel activity, and Hillel professional staff experience at Tulane University.

A native of Denver, CO, and a former Long Islander, Becca enjoys baseball, hockey, vocal jazz, and really good food.

Gail Shapiro

Administrative Assistant

Gail is a third-generation Texan, and both she and her husband are native Houstonians. She has two daughters, one step-daughter, twin granddaughters, and two poodles (who, according to Gail, run the household). Gail has been with Congregation Emanu El for 22 years and loves working with the religious school. You can usually find her on the phone with one of the families, and she welcomes you to stop by and visit.

Wed, August 21 2019 20 Av 5779