Texas Hillel Staff
Maiya Chard-Yaron, Executive Director (ext. 1014)
Maiya joined the Texas Hillel team as Executive Director in 2017. Prior to her arrival to the Forty Acres, Maiya spent five years with Maryland Hillel as Assistant Director and Director of Educational Engagement, and previously worked as Program Director at Hillel at Davis and Sacramento. As Executive Director, Maiya works closely with students. staff, and the broader community to advance Hillel's work on campus and to inspire every Jewish student to create an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.
Maiya holds a master’s degree in Experiential Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Columbia University (Columbia College), where she was captain of the women’s softball team. Maiya competed for the Israeli national softball team from 2003-2013, traveling to six different countries representing Israel on the diamond. Maiya has been an educator at both Camp Alonim and Camp Ramah, and has been a part of leading over 15 student educational trips in Israel, Poland, and throughout the US. Originally from San Diego, CA, Maiya has traded the Pacific Ocean for Lady Bird Lake, and is thrilled to now call Austin her home.
Liza Levine, Director of Development (ext. 1009)
Spencer Hirsch, Assistant Director
Spencer Hirsch is the Assistant Director for the Texas Hillel Foundation in Austin, TX. Prior to joining the Texas Hillel team, he worked as the Senior Regional Director of NFTY SOCAL, where he served 600+ families and 57 congregations, and received the NFTY SOCAL Lifetime Membership Award. He’s also worked extensively in marketing and brand management in the for-profit sector. Spencer holds a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults from HUC-JIR, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Washington.
Arielle Levy, Operations Manager (ext. 1003)
Assaf Baruchi, Jewish Agency Israel Fellow
Assaf Baruchi is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Texas Hillel, 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 to Hillel to find a meaningful way to work in education and advocacy for Israel, and is thrilled to have found his way to Austin! Assaf done extensive volunteer work around Israel, including with the ACHARAI program. In his free time, Assaf loves to play all kinds of sports, travel, hike around Israel, and spend quality time with his family and friends.
Rebecca Mather, Social Justice Coordinator
Rebecca Mather hails from the Greater Chicago Area. Rebecca graduated from Cornell College in Iowa with a Bachelor of Special Studies in Youth, Gender, and Social Justice. Following graduation, she served for a year with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in New Orleans. After AVODAH, she worked as the Gap Year House Supervisor for Tivnu: Building Justice, a Jewish social justice gap year in Portland, OR. Rebecca is excited to bring her background in group processing and intersectional justice movements to Texas Hillel as the social justice coordinator.
Zach Silverman, Senior IACT Birthright Israel Engagement Coordinator (ext. 1011)
Rabbi Moshe Trepp, JLF Educator (ext. 1002)
Alicia Garnes, Development Associate (ext. 1008)
Alicia Kaminsky Garnes is a native Texan who has lived in Austin since 2010. Alicia attended Tufts University where she graduated with a BA in History. After receiving her MBA with a concentration in Marketing from American University, she worked in marketing communications for several publishers in Washington, DC. and Great-West Healthcare in Denver, CO. Since moving to Austin, Alicia has worked for Carol Dochen, Realtors as the Marketing Director and consulted on various marketing projects for local businesses and nonprofits. Alicia is married and has two children.
James Thomas, Development Assistant
James Thomas comes to Texas Hillel after earning a Master of Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts: English and Mathematics from Concordia University in Austin. James began his career in higher education at his alma mater in the Dean of Students office as Director of Student Activities & Student Government, Director of Intramural Sports and Director of Residential Life. As he works towards his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration, he assists Dr. Richard Reddick, University of Texas at Austin Assistant Vice President of Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, on various research projects. James uses his background in student affairs and research to support the growing development efforts at Texas Hillel.