Meet the professional staff who are dedicated to building deeply meaningful Jewish experiences with incredible student leadership in a pluralistic, welcoming environment
The Team at Hillels of North Texas
Director of Jewish Student Life
Sophie Bernstein is the Director of Jewish Student Life at the University of North Texas. Prior to working at Hillel, Soph spent two years in Jackson, Mississippi serving the Institute of Southern Jewish Life as a fellow, where they gained experience teaching and connecting with folks in congregations across the south.
Soph earned a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and History from Carnegie Mellon University. Much of their time in Pittsburgh, PA was spent at the corner of Forbes and Fifth Avenue, at the Hillel Jewish University Center. More than a building, Hillel was home because of the people there. Soph is guided by their time at Hillel to help each student at UNT Hillel find a "home" no matter who they are.
A Dallas native, Soph grew up in the Temple Emanu-El community and is a Levine Academy alum. Soph is proud to be back in Texas to work with students in Denton.
You can find Soph on campus ready to meet Jewish students over a cup of coffee - or matcha tea! They love dogs, baking, and rock climbing, as well as nerding out over a good book and D&D.
Melissa Duchin Friedensohn
Melissa Friedensohn (née Duchin) has led Hillels of North Texas for eight years as Executive Director. Previous to Hillel, Melissa worked at Temple Emanu-El Dallas engaging 20s and 30s. She is a Dallas native and third-generation Texan.
She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she studied psychology and mathematics.
Melissa feels fortunate to work in the Jewish community of her hometown and has been an active leader in different facets of the Dallas Jewish community since her high school days in USY.
Melissa is married to Lance Friedensohn, and together they have a full house with Lance's son David, their infant daughter, and three fur-babies. Her talents include walking three dogs at the same time, sudoku, and making up lyrics to songs.