Welcoming New Staff Members to Texas Hillel

In addition to Maiya Chard Yaron becoming Texas Hillel’s new Executive Director, three more talented professionals joined the Texas Hillel staff this summer.  At the end of July, Spencer Hirsch began his work as the new Assistant Director at Texas Hillel.  This newly created position replaces the Jewish Student Life Director position and reflects Texas Hillel’s widening scope and forward-looking approach to student engagement.  As Assistant Director, Spencer will focus on Jewish life and Israel education, programs, and engagement as he works to inspire the nearly 3,000 Jewish students at UT to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

Spencer relocated from Santa Barbara, CA where was the Senior Regional Director for NFTY (the Reform youth movement) in Southern California.  In that position, he oversaw nearly 60 congregations and worked with both high school youth and college-age advisers throughout the region.  He rose through the ranks with NFTY and the URJ over the past six and half years, and previously worked in marketing in the corporate world.  Spencer graduated from the University of Washington, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in English, and has a certificate from Hebrew Union College in Jewish Education specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults. 

In July, Rachel Gabai also joined Texas Hillel’s staff as the Engagement Associate.  In this new position, Rachel will focus on reaching out to students not currently engaged in Jewish life through diverse programs and initiatives, both at Hillel and on campus.  She will also manage the CEI (Campus Entrepreneur Internship) program, which works to expand Hillel’s engagement on campus. 

Rachel is from Southern California and has worked in the Jewish community with children and teens for the last 6 years through Camp Alonim and various synagogues in the Los Angeles area.  Rachel graduated Cum Laude with Honors from Chapman University where she studied Creative Writing and Integrated Educational Studies.  In addition to her studies, Rachel has held a number of leadership positions in her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, and at Chapman Hillel.

Assaf Baruchi is the new Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Texas Hillel.  He will be working with students on a variety of political, cultural, and social programs to bring Israel closer to the UT campus community.  Assaf is originally from Nahariyya, Israel, and graduated from the Max Stern Academic College in the Jezreel Valley in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science.  He joined the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow program at Hillel as a way to find meaningful work in education and advocacy for Israel.

We are thrilled to welcome our newest staff members and we look forward to an exciting year ahead at Texas Hillel.  Nest time you are on the forty-acres, stop by and meet Maiya, Spencer, Rachel and Assaf!