Maiya Chard-Yaron, Executive Director
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.
Spencer Hirsch, Associate Director
Spencer is an experienced nonprofit management professional interested in community building, leadership development, brand management, listening and design. Prior to joining the Texas Hillel team, he worked as the Senior Regional Director of NFTY Southern California, where he served 600+ families and 57 congregations, and received the NFTY Southern California Lifetime Membership Award. Spencer is currently earning a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from HUC-JIR. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Washington. He grew up at Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, CA and is a proud alumnus of NFTY Southern California, NFTY Northwest, URJ Camp Newman and the URJ Kutz Camp.
Jordenne Parker, Operations Manager
Jordenne grew up in Southern California, but considers Austin to be home. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, Jordenne began working for the Athletics Department at UT, where she helped with operations, events, resources, programming and academic advising for student-athletes. During her six years working in Athletics, Jordenne also earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from UT. She spent 2017-2018 as part of Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows cohort in Netanya, Israel, where she was able to participate in Masa’s leadership programming and the Masa Hillel Fellowship. Jordenne has an extensive background in student affairs, operations and event planning, and she is excited to use this knowledge to serve Texas Hillel. In her free time, Jordenne enjoys practicing yoga, cheering on the Longhorns and taking advantage of all that Austin has to offer.
Rebecca Mather, Director of Social Justice Programs
Rebecca hails from the Greater Chicago Area. Rebecca graduated from Cornell College in Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in 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 brings an extensive background in group processing and intersectional justice movements to Texas Hillel as the Director of Social Justice Programs.
Ashira Boxman, Birthright Israel IACT Coordinator
Ashira’s life leading up to this moment definitely influenced her decision to work at Texas Hillel. She grew up in Baltimore, MD and then moved to Parkland, FL. She attended Jewish Day School and spent a semester abroad attending NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. Her favorite place to spend her summers was URJ Camp Harlam, where she spent 7 summers as a camper and 3 as a counselor. Ashira graduated from Florida State University in 2017, where she studied Family and Child Sciences and minored in Social Welfare. Following graduation, Ashira worked at the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach as an Engagement Associate. She has traveled to Israel over 10 times and can't wait to continue her travels to Israel alongside the amazing Texas Hillel students. She looks forward to pursuing a career in the Jewish world and interacting with a variety of incredible individuals. In her free time, Ashira enjoys having picnics in nature, trying new restaurants (especially sushi places), spending time with family and friends, being at camp and playing with puppies.
Shimi Mizrahi, Jewish Agency Israel Fellow
Shimi Mizrahi is from Ma'ale Adumim, Israel. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he was active in the Model United Nations Program. As a Zionist, he joined the Jewish Agency Israel Fellowship in order to strengthen the connection between Israel and Jews around the world. He truly believes in the common destiny of the Jewish people, and he is so excited to contribute to the Jewish community in Austin. In his free time, Shimi likes to travel throughout Israel, listen to Israeli music and hang out with family and friends.
Alicia Garnes, Development Associate
Alicia is a native Texan who has lived in Austin since 2010. Alicia attended Tufts University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. After receiving a 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 came to Texas Hillel after earning a Master of Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest and a Bachelor’s Degree 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 toward his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration, he assists Dr. Richard Reddick, The 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.