Congregation Beth Israel Executive Director Josh Kashinsky is one of 52 professionals accepted into the four national cohorts of UpStart’s Change Accelerator program.
UpStart’s Change Accelerator equips intrapreneurs – the bold leaders making meaningful change within our community’s Jewish institutions – to employ an entrepreneur’s mindset, change course quickly and develop creative solutions to meet the current moment. Over the next six months, these leaders will learn the skills and tools they need to meet their communities’ rapidly evolving needs, and gain a community of practice with which to brainstorm, take their initiatives to the next level and create the Jewish community of the future.
“This is a great opportunity to learn with some incredible leaders from across the country and to learn from a Jewish organization that is committed to helping institutions manage change well,” says Josh. “Especially, in the times we currently find ourselves, the pace of change is accelerating, and legacy institutions (like a 160+year-old synagogue) are not historically known for our ability to change quickly.”
Josh believes his participation could benefit Portland’s entire Jewish community. Being nimble and adjusting skills will be essential in our changing world.
“I certainly hope to be able to share insights with my professional colleagues throughout the community and within CBI,” says Josh. “Many of the factors that impact CBI specifically impact other parts of the Jewish Portland as well. And the stronger the overall Jewish ecosystem, the better able we are to serve the community and support each other.”
This year, UpStart leveraged the application data to design cohorts focused on emerging challenges and trends in Jewish life.
The Deepening Connections and Thriving Communities
cohorts will focus on exploring new ways to meet constituents’ needs, deepen relationships across their communities and create more inclusive institutions. The Power in Partners cohort will focus on fostering meaningful partnerships among stakeholders and creating a coalition of leaders who share a commitment to community success.
Josh is part of the Reimagining Institutions cohort, which will focus on redefining the purpose of Jewish institutions in a post-COVID world and weaving innovation into the framework of institutional operations.
“The pace of change across all sectors is increasing, and it is naïve to think we, CBI, are immune,” says Josh. He adds that CBI Board President Tony Urdes and Senior Rabbi Michael Cahana are also “thinking about these issues.”
Josh moved to Portland to lead CBI in May 2016 with his wife, Michelle, and two children. Rose is now in second grade and Fiona in kindergarten at Portland Jewish Academy. Previously, he was the assistant executive director at the Siegel JCC in Wilmington, Del. Prior to that, he worked as a professional in the theater world. A graduate of UCSB and Sarah Lawrence College, Josh grew up in the Silicon Valley.