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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

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Rabbi Matt Rutta

Director of Jewish Student Life

Rabbi Matt Rutta has been calling North Texas home for the past seven years as the Rabbi/Educator at Ann & Nate Levine Academy in Dallas. He is a native of Los Angeles where he grew up as an avid Dodgers fan.


He attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York as an undergraduate. He was very active at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel and held so many office hours that the Assistant Director declared him the Mayor-for-Life.


He was ordained a rabbi at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and received his Masters of Education at the Fingerhut School at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He has spent many summers on staff at Camp Ramah in California.

Rabbi Matt is passionate about Israel, trivia, board games, baseball, constantly finishing in second place in Fantasy Football, and is currently searching for the best bagel in North Texas.


He loves to spend hours at coffee shops and would be thrilled to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about how to make your college experience the best it can be.


Melissa Duchin Friedensohn

Executive Director

Melissa Friedensohn (née Duchin) has led Hillels of North Texas for six 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, is stepmom to David, and is "puppy mama" to three dogs. Her talents include walking three dogs at the same time, sudoku, and making up lyrics to songs. 


"I'm eternally grateful for Hillel because it gave me a Jewish community I could call my own. I'm the AEPi chapter president welcoming new students to campus who were like me. Through Jewish programming, social events, and leadership opportunities, Hillel has shaped me into the Jewish adult that I am today."

Fred T, UTD '19

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