The Federation and Helen Diller Family Foundation Announce 2023 Diller Educator Award and Diller Prize for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Recipients

San Francisco, CA – On March 23, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) announced four recipients of the Diller Educator Awards and the recipient of the Diller Prize for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement. A committee of lay leaders selected the recipients from this year’s pool of nominees who were nominated by leaders in their institutions. Recipients of the Diller Educator Awards will receive $10,000, and their organizations will receive $2,500. The recipient of the Diller Prize for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement will receive $30,000, and $6,000 to give as a donation to a nonprofit in the field. Recipients will be honored at an in-person event on May 18, 2023.

“The quality and depth of experience of this year’s candidates is perhaps the best proof that the future of Jewish education in the Bay Area is bright and in very good hands,” said Neal Rubin, Co-Chair of the Diller Educator Awards Selection Committee. “The extraordinary impact that these educators have had on their students, families, colleagues, and institutions makes them role models for all who seek to help strengthen our Jewish community.” Since the launch of the award program in 2001, the Federation has honored over 100 Jewish educators and awarded over $1 million to educators at Bay Area Jewish institutions. The Federation administers the awards in partnership with the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation.

“My mother, Helen Diller, cared deeply about the future of our Jewish community and understood the key role that exceptional educators play in ensuring our next generations are proud, knowledgeable, and connected,” said Jaclyn Safier, President of the Helen Diller Family Foundation. “Our community’s Jewish educators work tirelessly each day not just to teach or guide their learners, but to inspire them. It is an honor to recognize their significant accomplishments.”

2023 Recipients

Early Childhood Education:
Quelise Schroeder, Master Teacher
APJCC Preschool at Jewish Silicon Valley, Los Gatos

A Bay Area native, Quelise has been a Jewish educator at APJCC Preschool for 19 years. Her investment and connection to Judaism has grown alongside her students. Her nominator wrote that Quelise goes “out of her way to support each young learner, gaining insight into their specific interests and finds ways to elevate their confidence, independence, and uniqueness.” Quelise is known for bringing her creativity into the classroom; she has “created and performed puppet shows with Judaic content for the entire school community. These include plays written for Jewish holidays but also feature well-known stories like The Three Little Pigs or The Paper Bag Princess,” said her nominator. Quelise played an instrumental role in shaping and designing the Master Teacher program at APJCC, which enriches educators through mentorship and professional development workshops.

Day School:
Tamar Rabinowitz, Dean of Jewish Studies & Hebrew
Jewish Community High School of the Bay, San Francisco

Raised on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, Tamar attended Jewish day school and traces her deep love for Jewish prayer and Torah to early experiences of attending synagogue with her father. At Hebrew University, Tamar received a degree in Jewish History and a graduate degree in Jewish education. Tamar has been in Jewish education for 20 years. She worked and studied in Israel, New Zealand, and Washington D.C. before moving to San Francisco where she is the Dean of Jewish Studies & Hebrew at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. “Tamar teaches the capacity to appreciate nuance as both an outlook and a skill,” said her nominator. “Her approach resonates powerfully and developmentally with high school students. She uses encouragement, empowerment, and enthusiasm to motivate student growth and learning. She draws relatable examples and inspiring stories from our tradition to inform her teaching.”

Congregational & Supplementary:
Cantor Doron Shapira, Cantor & Director of Education
Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Foster City

Raised in San Francisco by Israeli parents, Doron grew up with Jewish and Israeli music and culture. For over 40 years, Doron has worked within the Bay Area Jewish community. “What makes Cantor Doron the consummate educator is not only his ability to impart knowledge but, probably more importantly, the example that he sets for meaningful life-long learning,” said a congregant. Another student and congregant described that “if you have had the honor of witnessing him teach, you know his extensive knowledge and passion for Judaism allows him to engage and connect with any age group.”

Experiential & Communal:

Morgan Blum Schneider, Director
Jewish Family & Children’s Services Holocaust Center, San Francisco

A third-generation Bay Area native, Morgan is driven by values instilled in her by her grandmother—support and invest in family, community, and society. These values have led her to work in the Jewish community for 25 years. “Morgan is deeply passionate about Jewish values and service, which she exemplifies via role modeling when leading workshops and study tours to Europe and Israel, when she helps students recognize and confront antisemitism, and in her own education,” said her nominator. “To Morgan, the most essential element of her work is empowering young people to proactively confront hatred and antisemitism so that we can stop discrimination in its tracks.” Morgan is a member of Congregation Rodef Shalom where she and her family continue their Jewish Studies.

Diller Prize for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement:
Janet Harris, East Bay

A nationally recognized leader in Early Childhood Jewish Education, for over 45 years, Janet has championed programs that build community, engage families, and foster social justice. “Janet is a courageous, bold, and connected leader who has been working tirelessly to underscore and support young children, their families, and the field of ECE,” wrote her nominator. They said that Janet’s impact extends beyond the field of Early Childhood education, noting that “Janet’s work consistently fans out and impacts every Bay Area Jewish day school, synagogue, and camp and, in turn, the well-being of the entire Jewish community.” Janet has described being a Jewish educator as core to her identity and a true “vocational calling.”


The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. The Federation partners with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing the community and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and worldwide. Learn more at

For immediate release

March 23, 2023