Rabbi Israel Becker


Director & Judaica Teacher


Rabbi Israel Becker’s leadership has touched thousands of individuals across generations and has been a transforming force in the Tucson community. His tireless effort to reach out to all Jews, regardless of affiliation or level or observance, and create meaningful and rich traditional Jewish experiences, has become his natural calling card.


Rabbi’s journey to opening the first Tucson Jewish Montessori is yet another pivotal moment in what has been a phenomenal journey in Tucson, Arizona.  He started Chofetz Chayim in 1979 as a house of learning and prayer, creating classes for all ages. From 1983-1993 he directed one of the most innovative Jewish pre-schools in Tucson whereby he used story and song, as well as integrated secular and religious learning concepts to create a remarkable curriculum for pre-school education.


He has since founded the Southwest Torah Institute for adult Jewish education (1986), the development of the ‘GAP’ program for young adults in Hillel, a key faculty member in classes, lectures and programs at the Jewish Community Center, Hebrew High School, Tucson Hebrew Academy, Hillel and the Melton School. His talents and stunning record were acknowledged when he received the Jewish Community Professional of the Year award form the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Now he’s bringing that same enthusiasm to Tucson Jewish Montessori.

Esther Becker


Administrator & Judaica Teacher


Morah Esther Becker holds a B.A. in Economics and Early Childhood Education. She has worked in the field of Jewish Education for more than 4 decades starting at age 14 working in Brooklyn, New York. Her experience spans across Jewish camps, synagogues, Hebrew schools and day schools.


After observing a number of Jewish Montessori schools across the country, and becoming convinced that this method would greatly benefit the Tucson Jewish Community, she and Rabbi Becker decided to create the Tucson Jewish Montessori. Esther also strategically developed relationships between high ranking Montessori educators in Tucson and back east in order to deliver the best in Montessori education.


She specializes in reinforcing Rabbi Becker’s morning session, incorporating all aspects of Montessori methods into Judaic studies and culture through a hands-on and visual approach, as well as teaching the Hebrew language. Esther has personally overseen the entire creation of all class materials and delivers the teachings in a fun-filled, yet educational format.


Part of her philosophy is to have the children engaged and involved personally in order for them to develop a love for their Judaism. If they have love of their Judaism, then they will have growth of Judaism throughout their lives.

Sharon Loper

Montessori Directress

Sharon's long road with the Montessori Method has led her straight to Tucson Jewish Montessori, and we are so grateful. It all started when she enrolled her sons in a Montessori school in California.  It was not too long until someone noticed how she was pulled to it and said, "you have to do this."  Over 20 years later, after having interned at National Center For Montessori Education, and has held  teaching positions at the College Center Montessori School in San Diego, and Hermosa Montessori here in Tucson (where she worked in Primary and Elementary classrooms for 9 years) she is here to help us grow and develop our special program.  


The best part about having Sharon at Tucson Jewish Montessori, however, is how her eyes light up when she talks about early learning. "Watching the lightbulbs go on, when a child 'gets' something. . . it's so clear at this age." And you can see she knows exactly what she's talking about.

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520.790.2784   /   admin@tjmontessori.org  /  5150 East 5th Street Tucson, AZ 85711