CAARS Faculty 2020 – 2021

Karen Channon, Pre-K

Karen Chanon is an experienced Pre-K teacher at Agudas Achim.  She has taught Pre-K for 4 years.  Karen enjoys teaching Sunday School with a focus  on Jewish Values, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Blessings , Jewish Symbols and Hebrew words through dramatic play, art activities, snack time and cooking.  Karen enjoys seeing her student’s gain self confidence, learn how to respect themselves, as well as others, while facilitating  an introduction to Jewish life.  She has four fabulous children Jacci and Josh who recently got married and are living and working in Dallas, Reid who is living and working in Chicago and Ryan who is  living and working in Dallas. Karen has lived in Austin for 40 years and she has worked at the ECP for 8 years doing the week as a two’s teacher.  She is active in her Synagogue , loves her community and is enjoying learning Hebrew and practicing the prayers and blessings daily.  Karen enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking, swimming, eating good food, and playing mahjong.  Karen looks forward to meeting your child, as she will learn and listen to your child, as well as enrich your child.  


Jacob Levy, Kindergarten

Jacob joins us having recently graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with a degree in Jewish Studies.  While he may have grown up a Hoosier, he is excited to become a member of the Longhorn family as graduate student at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at UT.  In the free time he has, Jacob enjoys a variety of activities from running to playing with his adorable dog!  He can’t wait to meet everyone and experience all that Austin and CAA have to offer!


Sarah Milligan, 1st Grade

Sarah Milligan is a musician and educator based in Austin, Texas. When she is not teaching 1st grade CAARS Sarah can be found teaching private music lessons and working at the Shalom Austin ECP. Sarah has been teaching private music lessons since 2012,  Jewish Education since 2018 and is excited to combine her love for music and the Jewish Community through Jewish Education. 
Sarah holds a Bachelors of Music and Minor in Arts Management and Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. During her time at UT, she was active at Texas Hillel and Chabad, went on her Birthright trip, and was an intern for JHP’s Texas JTribe. 


Rachel Gelfand, 2nd Grade

Hi Second Grade class! I am super excited to teach your children this year. A little about me, I am a sophomore in architectural engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I grew up an hour away from NYC in Weston, Connecticut. I taught kindergarten at my local synonague and swim lessons at my local pool. Over the summer, I was a counselor and waterfront staff at URJ Eisner Camp. My junior year of high school, I spent a semester in Israel learning Hebrew and Jewish History. While there, I was able to travel all around Israel and see the unique culture. At the University of Texas, I am a swim instructor, part of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, and volunteer for Challah for Hunger. In my free time I love to hang out with my friends, swim, and hike. Excited to learn and grow with your kids over zoom!


Sophia Fineberg, 5th Grade

Sophia Fineberg is a junior at Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary, studying sociology and talmud. She is from Dallas, Texas, and is spending this semester living and studying in Jerusalem. Sophia hopes to be a Jewish day school teacher one day. She loves learning about Judaism and teaching others. Her favorite book is “As A Driven Leaf” and her favorite thing to cook is challah.


Stacey Glazer, 6th Grade

Stacey Glazer has been teaching 6th grade at CAARS since 2009.  Originally from Syracuse, NY, she grew up in Gainesville, FL, and has her degree in theatre with a Spanish minor from Florida State University.  For her first ten years out of college, she traveled the country doing theatre, and whenever she was stationary, she always taught Hebrew school.  She has taught in Hickory, NC; St. Pete, FL; and West Palm Beach, FL.  She landed in Austin in 2006 and is so happy to call Austin and Agudas Achim her home.  She has been a bartender in a hotel for most of the time she has lived in Austin while acting and directing regularly.  With the pandemic, her latest directing gig, and her bartending gig were put on hold.  So, she listened to a voice that has been in her head since college, but that she had ignored.  Stacey is proud to have started graduate studies at Jewish Theological Seminary.  She will be receiving a certificate in Jewish Ethics and Social Justice in conjunction with Columbia University and a Masters in Jewish Education.  Stacey is married to Marc Friedman, a fellow teacher here at CAARS.


Maya Fela, Hebrew

Maya was born and raised in Israel and moved to Austin four years ago. Maya’s Bachelors is in Criminology, Sociology, and Anthropology and studied Clinical Criminology in graduate school. In Israel, she had over a decade of experience in education in various settings, and in Austin, she teaches and tutors Hebrew and Jewish studies. Maya likes to provide an inviting, exciting, and joyful learning environment to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and needs. Maya enjoys reading, being outdoors with her dogs and swimming.  


Cheryl Hersh, Hebrew

Cheryl Hersh is a Certified Parent Coach® with a wealth of experience in the world of education.  She began her career teaching religious school while in high school. Most recently, she shepherded Austin Jewish Academy as its Head of School for seven years, following her tenure as a public school teacher, Director of Religious School and middle-school principal at Los Angeles’ Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am. Social and emotional well-being have been at the heart of her life’s work, which include certifications in the Ojai Foundation’s Council program, and Conscious Discipline as well as the Parent Coaching Institute.  She holds a Masters in Education and an MBA in Non-profit Management.  Cheryl lived in Israel for several years and has two adult children.  She loves the Hebrew language and is excited to share her passion with your children.


Aron Neesman, 7th Grade Elective

Aron Neesman is relatively new to the Austin area and is really excited to be joining the CARRS faculty. He recently moved here from the Boston Metro Area, When he’s not not teaching at CARRS he can be found at either any of the local coffee shops around or at Cedar Creek Elementary where he’s a Middle School Teacher. He has a love of movies and all things comic book and specifically Batman. 


Ben Saffer, Songleader

Ben Saffer has been performing clarinet professionally in Austin for 24 years, including with klezmer band Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour. He regularly leads services and chants Torah at Agugas Achim and has two daughters enrolled at CAARS. This is his third year to have the pleasure of teaching Jewish songs and music to the students of CAARS.