Houston Jewish Funerals

Houston Jewish Funerals is Jewish owned and operated. We have been serving the Houston Jewish community since 2001.

We partner with all local synagogues and cemeteries to ensure you and your loved ones are cared for in your time of need. We are able to transfer pre-need policies from any funeral home even from other cities.

Our licensed Houston Funeral Directors are available to meet with you at our offices, your home, any Houston-area hospitals, your synagogue, or wherever you feel most comfortable.

At Houston Jewish Funerals, we are focused on providing unbeatable service at a price you can afford. We offer a better, more personal way to plan Jewish funeral services that are as special as your loved one.

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Contact Us Today

Complete the contact form or call one of our locations. We are here to serve you.

Dallas Area
1611 North Central Expy
Plano, TX 75075
(972) 424-1141

Houston Area
5455 Dashwood St Ste 700
Bellaire, TX 77401
(713) 666-0257

Jewish Heritage… Jewish Traditions… Jewish-owned and operated

Contact Us

Dallas: 972-424-1141

Houston: 713-666-0257

Pre-Planning Seminars

Join us for a pre-planning seminar to learn more about our services and planning for the future.

Please visit www.prepaidfunerals.texas.gov for additional information.
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Andy Starr

OWNER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Andy has a knack for business, but has always wanted to use that talent to serve people at critical times in their life, whether suffering from an injury, dealing with aging & frail parents, or enduring the loss of a loved one. Accordingly, before getting involved in the funeral business, Andy was a Co-Founder and Senior Executive with Hearthstone Assisted Living, which he helped grow from scratch to over 30 communities in 10 states. Before Hearthstone, Andy was a Senior Member of the Founding Management Team for U.S. Physical Therapy, which he helped grow from scratch to over 75 clinics nationwide, and transitioned the business from a private company to being publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange. As a prelude to his business career, Andy was a Real Estate & Banking attorney at the Houston firm of Hirsch & Westheimer, after graduating with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law. Andy also received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Andy grew up in Tennessee, but married a native Houstonian (Wendy Kosberg), with whom he has three grown children, all of whom attended The Shlenker School (elementary) and the Emery/Weiner School (Junior & Senior High). Andy & Wendy are active members at Temple Beth Israel, and Andy is a past board member of the Shlenker School, as well as a former Trustee of The Seven Acres Jewish Campus for the Aged. Andy’s wife is also a former board member of the Emery/Weiner School.

Zane Belyea

OWNER/COMMUNITY RELATIONS

From an early age, Zane wanted to help people in need, so when he attended Southern Illinois University he decided to study Social Work & Psychology. During his first year after graduation, Zane worked with abused and neglected children, before spending eleven years in the education industry, eventually becoming Vice President of Recruitment for a large education firm. In 2011, after many years of business travel, and a growing family in Dallas, Zane followed the advice of one of his mentors, and began a new career in the funeral industry. True to his roots in social work, Zane finds it deeply rewarding to help families during one of the worst moments of their lives, and he has instilled that passion for service through-out the company. “Every member of our team has a solemn commitment to serve all of our families well beyond their expectations. We absolutely won’t let them down.”

Zane is married to a Dallas native (Jill Liberman), and has two sons, Dylan & Zachary. They are active members of Adat Chaverim, and deeply involved in the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, and the Jewish Federation. Next summer, Zane plans to take his entire family to Israel for Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah celebration.

Liz Vargas

OWNER/HUMAN RESOURCES

Liz Vargas is the VP of Accounting at Jewish Funerals USA where Liz has full responsibility for financials, procedures, budgets and human resources for multiple locations.

Liz has worked as an accounting professional for over 25 years in different industries and specializes in the direction and setup of accounting systems and establishing policies and procedures for financial and operational activities for startup companies.

Liz enjoys working in her garden and watching her favorite sports team the Houston Astros in her free time

Antionette Prasit

LOCATION MANAGER/FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Antionette is a native Houstonian and graduated from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in 2006 in which she received her Associate’s Degree in Funeral Service and Embalming. She is currently licensed in the State of Texas. She is a member of the Texas Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association. She began her career in 2004 serving families at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home and was employed with Service Corporation International for many years. She also was employed with the NorthStar Memorial Group and South Park Funeral Home in Pearland. She takes great pride and honor in serving families.

In her spare time, she enjoys the beach, fishing, water sports, reading and spending quality time with her husband, Rick, her son, Giovanni and her daughter, Victoria.

Shawn E Simon

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Shawn is a 1993 graduate of Commonwealth Institute and holds an Associate’s Degree in Funeral Service and is currently licensed in the State of Texas as a Funeral Director.  He is a member of the Texas Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association. Shawn brings over 25 years of experience serving as a funeral director and manager. He has served thousands of families at some of Houston’s finest funeral homes and cemeteries, including Geo. H Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors, Forest Park Westheimer, Forest Park Lawndale, J.B. Earthman – Tanglewood Funeral Directors and Memorial Oaks Funeral Home.

Shawn is originally from South Louisiana and moved to Texas in 1988. In his spare time, he enjoys landscaping, hunting, traveling, napping and spending time with his family. He has one daughter, Kristin and 3 awesome grandchildren, Layne, Jaxon and Rylan.

Rachell Cantu

PROVISIONAL FUNERAL DIRECTOR

A native of Texas, Rachell Cantu grew up just outside of Houston. With a desire to support and help make a difficult time a little easier for loved ones left behind, Rachell knew that funeral directing was her calling. After graduating from the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service with an Associate in Applied Science, Rachell worked for a funeral home in Missouri before returning to her home state and joining Distinctive Life in November 2016. Having gained experience in all aspects of funeral directing and cremation from start to finish, Rachell has become an invaluable member of our team. In her spare time, Rachell loves spending time with her friends and family or just relaxing with her cat, Shades.

Ana Arias

FUNERAL ASSISTANT

Before becoming a Funeral Director, Ana started her career in the medical field when she was 19 years old. She started nursing school but because of the preoccupied nature of the job, she missed opportunities to engage with people in meaningful ways.  She switched gears and completed her degree in Business Administration at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey.  She continued to sharpen her skills in the medical industry then decided to shift into the funeral service industry.  Originally from New Jersey, Ana moved to Houston with her daughter to start a new adventure.

 

Ana joined the funeral home after completing a Mortuary Science degree at the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City.  There are many reasons she is happy she landed here.  After dedicating over 18 years of service in the medical industry; she provides guidance, support, and direction to families here at the funeral home. Ana receives satisfaction in offering to assist them with planning and coordinating a service to celebrate their loved one’s life.  She loves her family of colleagues, and is thankful to work for a company that values treating all families from many diverse backgrounds with the same high level of dignity and care.  “That is why I love my job. I get to help people. I get to help them celebrate the life of someone they love during one of the toughest times.”

Josh Reinitz

PRE-PLANNING ADVISOR

Since childhood, Josh has been instilled with the Jewish value of chesed, or loving kindness.  This emphasis on caring for others and the community, led Josh to pursue a career in the funeral industry.  Josh’s heartfelt approach to educating individuals and families about their end of life decisions brings ease and comfort to difficult conversations.  Josh feels privileged to work alongside families to ensure that they have an exceptional experience when preparing for the inevitable. In joining Houston Jewish Funerals, Josh brings several years of experience as a pre-planning advisor and a friendly face to the Jewish community.

When Josh is not working at Houston Jewish Funerals, he is serving the Houston community as an HFD firefighter at Station 37 on Stella Link.  Being a firefighter has further strengthened Josh’s passion as a helping professional. Josh is the co-founder and director of The Captain Renaud Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance Houston firefighters and their families after a line of duty death, catastrophic injury, or work-acquired cancer diagnoses.

Though they’ve known each other since Hebrew school, Josh married Houston-native, Sarah Goldman, in 2013.  Josh and Sarah love living and raising their family in the neighborhood where they grew up.  They are members of Congregation Beth Israel and have two sons, Henry and Bowen, who attend The Shlenker School. 

Jane Shapiro

PRE-PLANNING ADVISOR

Houston Distinctive Life Funeral Homes is proud that Jane R. Shapiro has joined our team. Jane will be working as our Executive Planning Advisor, assisting families with making funeral pre-arrangements. She has been a part of the Houston community for 35 years.

  • Formerly with Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care Services and The Medallion Assisted Living residence
  • Member of the Houston Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Lu Dorfman

PRE-PLANNING ADVISOR

Lu Dorfman has a passion for all things Jewish.  Following a 30 year career in private industry, Lu served as Executive Director of Congregation Beth Yeshurun for 17 years, retiring at the beginning of 2019.  Prior to his entrée into the professional Jewish world in 2002, Lu established a 23 year “career” in leadership in Jewish volunteering in local, national, and international organizations.  During his 40 years in organized Jewish life, Lu has counseled families with their life cycle needs from births to deaths, including officiating at brisses, funerals, and unveilings.  Lu is married to Robin for nearly 49 years.  They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren in Atlanta, Memphis, and Houston.

 

“I knew when I was retiring as Executive Director at Beth Yeshurun that I wanted to stay somewhat busy with something, most likely to stay involved in the Jewish community.  That’s where my passion is.  But first I wanted to take some time off and do nothing.  Not a lot of time, but some time.  Thinking about how to stay involved, I thought about what gave me the most satisfaction during my years at Beth Yeshurun, and that was helping people in their time of most need – when they had a life cycle need, and mostly when they had a death or serious illness in their family.  That’s when people need someone to talk to, someone to guide them, somewhat to help them navigate along an uncertain path they may not have been on before.  It was those opportunities that gave me maximum satisfaction.  Realizing that, it just made sense to associate with Houston Jewish Funerals.  This, I think, will give me the opportunity to continue to connect with the Jewish people in a meaningful way.”