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Our Staff

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 an email, or call us at one of the numbers below.

 

Administrative Staff

Jake Cohen (he/him)
Executive Director

Jake Cohen has spent his career growing institutions and leveraging citizen power to improve and build local communities.

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of CBI, Jake worked for The Holdsworth Center, an Austin-based nonprofit that develops leadership in Texas public school districts. Over the last four years, Jake worked in multiple roles for the organization: Supporting school boards to engage in long-range strategic planning, developing internal organizational strategy, and most recently, fundraising to ensure the sustainability of The Holdsworth Center.

Before joining Holdsworth, Jake served as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) Network in Maryland, where he worked to build capacity and impact public policy. In his time at IAF, Jake worked with clergy, congregations, and community leaders to secure significant local victories, including a committment of over 900 affordable housing units in Columbia and a school construction bond that generated over $1 billion to rebuild 28 schools in Baltimore City. He often joined locl colleges, nonprofits, and conferences as a guest lecturer or trainer, including Goucher College, Teach for America, and the Maryland State Education Association. 

Jake and his wife Libby have been members of Congregation Beth Israel since 2019. In that time, Jake served on the cdc@cbi parent board and as a Director on the CBI board of directors. Jake and Libby have two children, Micah (two and a half) and Claire (4 months), both enrolled at the cdc@cbi.

 

 Sarah Jew (she/her)
 Director of Community Engagement
 

 Sarah Jew has worked at CBI, in one capacity   or another, since 2010. She taught 1st grade religious school for two years before she was hired as a part-time receptionist while she attended classes at Austin Community College. In 2015, Sarah took the role of Education Coordinator and in January of 2022 stepped in to be the Director of Community Engagement. She also catered many Shabbat dinners and B'nei Mitzvah receptions on the side. Sarah loves working at the synagogue she grew up attending, and is passionate about supporting the growth and change happening in the Austin Jewish community. Her hobbies include cooking (eating), lounging at the pool, and spending time with her husband Chase, daughter Audrey, and their dogs!

 Trish Ivey (she/her)
 Executive Assistant to the Clergy

 Trish Ivey serves CBI as the Executive   Assistant  to the Clergy. She brings her enthusiasm, caring nature and experience with managing different personalities to her role.  In her free time, Trish enjoys spending time with family and friends, and exploring the area with her husband Logan.

 

 Pam Hanna (she/her)
 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@cbi 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 join her at CBI.

 

 Nate Firebaugh (he/him)
 Administrative and Financial Manager

 Nate Firebaugh grew up in Fredericktown, MO, a small town in the heart of the Ozarks. It was there that he learned the importance of community and being of services to others. In 1997, he moved to San Antonio, TX to complete his BA in Religious Studies at the University of the Incarnate Word. Nate made Austin his home in 2012 and has been in love ever since. 
As the Financial and Administrative Manager, Nate brings over 20 years of experience in administrative state licensing and bookkeeping roles. He is excited about being part of the staff during this time of growth and new beginnings for CBI. He is grateful for the warmth, inclusivity and love that he has received since becoming part of the CBI family in 2020. Nate is active in several groups at CBI, including the Brotherhood and Ga'avah. In his spare time, Nate enjoys playing piano, reading, studying Hebrew and spending time with his fur babies, Issy, Sissy, and Scooter.

Youth Education

Carly Cera (she/her)
 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. Carly has a Master’s Degree in education and has taught school in both Israel and the U.S. Her goal at CBI is to build a strong community of students, parents and teachers who understand and live our Jewish values. Carly and her husband Ted are proud parents to two energetic, funny and loving boys who really feel at home at CBI–Cameron (2014) and Devon (2016).

 Lainey Komerofsky (she/her)
 Youth Education and Engagement Coordinator
 

 Lainey Komerofsky, CBI's new Youth Education   and Engagement Coordinator, graduated from the College of Charleston where she completed a double major in Jewish Studies and Women's and Gender Studies, as well as a minor in Sociology. Lainey was a camper, staff member, and unit head at URJ Greene Family Camp, and she was also an active member of NFTY-TOR, serving as regional president from 2017-2018. It was through these experiences that Lainey found comfort and belonging in the Jewish community. Through combined efforts in education and engagement, Lainey hopes to build and maintain that sense of community among our youth members at CBI, and she can't wait to get started!

cdc@cbi   Administrative Staff

 Jeni Pandolfi (she/her)
 cdc@cbi Director 


Jeni Pandolfi holds a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She has over 15 years of experience in early childhood programs including public, private, and non-profit. Jeni's work uses an attachment-based, Reggio Emilia inspired approach that honors children as they develop through exploration, self-expression, and collaboration. This method has led her to develop resources, models, and supports to effectively improve quality, access, and opportunity for Texas families with young children.

She believes that children are infinitely capable, strong and powerful and should be valued for who they are now, not simply for who they will become. As an educator, her intention is to create environments where children are celebrated for creating their own world of wonder.

In her spare time, Jeni enjoys soul cycle, practicing yoga, and spending time with her son.

 

 Steven Kogan (he/him)
 cdc@cbi Compliance Coordinator

 Steven Kogan is a naturalized Texas and cdc@cbi dad who joined the admin team in May of 2022. He spent many years as a camper and then counselor and staff member at Camp Young Judea in Wimberly. A University of Texas at Austin graduate, Steven brings 10 years of database and system management experience that he is excited to apply to the "boring paperwork stuff" to support the school's incredible educators. He enjoys cooking, movies, and playing board games with his wife and two young children.

 Kayleigh Graham (she/her)
 cdc@cbi Assistant Director 

Kayleigh Graham grew up in southeast Texas. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health with a focus on Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University and a bachelor's degree in Folklore from the University of Oregon. Prior to her new role as Assistant Director of the cdc@cbi, Kayleigh worked as a therapist for the middle and high school youth in a school setting. She has been an administrator, educator, and director at mulitiple religious schools, and she co-directed an interfaith camp called Peace Village in Eugene, Oregon. While in graduate school, Kayleigh was the director of an outdoor camp in Boulder, Colorado, where she taught children all about goats and gardens. Supporting youth in their exploration of self, relationships, community, culture, and connection with nature have been at the core of Kayleigh's career for over a decade. Kayleigh strives to cultivate environments where connection, creativity, and play are in abundance. Outside of work, Kayleigh likes to take daily walks, read fantasy novels, cook, and spend time at home with her partner and their cat.

 

 Aaron Perchonok (he/him)
 cdc@cbi Educational Program Coordinator
 

 Aaron Perchonok is a native Houstonian and   grew up as an active member of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC where he worked in the gymnastics gym as a coach specializing in preschoolers, and taught at the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School. After moving to Austin, Aaron worked as Lead Educator in the Alonim room at the cdc@cbi. Aaron loves finding creative ways to engage in child-led learning, specifically using his longtime audio and video production hobby, and looks forward to being able to promote children's curiosity and learning throughout the cdc@cbi community as the Educational Program Coordinator.

Facilities

Edward Cruz-Aedo (he/him)
 Facilities Director

Edward Cruz-Aedo grew up in Austin, Texas. He has lived in Pflugerville, Texas for 21 years. He worked for Pflugerville ISD for 10 years. Edward and his wife Shelly have been married for 22 years. They have two sons, Tristan and Nolan, and a daughter, Haleigh. In his free time, Edward enjoys kayaking, fishing, camping, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with his family.

 Larry Johnson (he/him)
 Senior Custodian

 Larry Johnson grew up in Long Island, New   York. He worked as a community service aid   for  the Long Island Police Department before starting his 25+ year career as a custodian in public schools around New York and Texas. Larry lives in Manor with his wife Kim and they have four children and ten grandchildren, most of whom live nearby in Texas. Larry enjoys fishing and being on the water, and helping people whenever he has the chance.

Mon, February 6 2023 15 Sh'vat 5783