IMAGE: PDX Pathways Cohort Four. Applications are now open for the fifth cohort, the first to be all virtual.
BY DEBORAH MOON
Applications are open for the fifth cohort of PDX Pathways, a mentoring and leadership program for Jewish young professionals ages 21 through 35ish. Applications will be accepted Sept. 1-Oct. 16.
This will be the first virtual cohort, and also the first to let participants self-select into one of four mentor groups: Jewish professionals, mid-level professionals, young professionals or leadership development. For more information on the program and to apply, visit jewishportland.org/pathways.
The 67 alumni from previous cohorts have gone on to serve in lay and professional leadership roles at local Jewish agencies, synagogues and other organizations.
Emily Benoit, an alumna of the second cohort, definitely recommends young adults sign up for the program.
“Pathways gave me most of my best friends here in Portland,” she says. “Regardless of what you are searching for – Jewish community, professional networking or development, leadership opportunities – you will get what you are seeking from Pathways.”
Emily serves on the allocations committee and board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, which hosts PDX Pathways. Pathways is funded by the A. Victor & Betty Rosenfeld Leadership Development Endowment Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.
Abbie Barash, a member of the third cohort, agrees with Emily about the value of Pathways: “I think Pathways literally can serve as a pathway into the Jewish community. Even for someone like me, who was already fairly involved, it helped me identify more opportunities to get involved, to give back and to create more meaningful relationships throughout the Jewish community in Portland.”
Abbie manages OneTable programs in Portland and Seattle and is curating the content for Here For (see story page 9), which is OneTable’s national High Holiday platform. She learned about OneTable in Pathways and became the first OneTable Portland Field Fellow, supporting the Portland young adult Jewish community in creating a more sustainable, authentic and consistent Shabbat dinner practice.
She is not the only alumni to become a Jewish professional after Pathways. Nadine Menashe, cohort two, is now a JFGP development associate and staff person for Pathways. Nadine was asked to serve on the Federation’s Community Relations Council after Pathways and then joined the Federation staff in 2018.
“Pathways is a huge part of how I got this job,” says Nadine. For her, the program was the answer to its tagline: “How will you launch your future?”
Emily is now a transportation planner, but Pathways launched her into a Jewish professional role for two years. She worked as a youth group advisor at Congregation Kol Ami 2017-19. She also volunteered for JFGP’s Impact event and on the Women’s Philanthropy Committee before beginning her term on the JFGP Board. “Pathways got me connected to the larger Jewish community, but my volunteer heart was hooked at JFGP,” she says.
“Pathways gave me the opportunity to show my new community my passion for Jewish engagement and community building,” says Emily. “This enthusiasm and commitment to Jewish life in a professional development setting, I think, helped push me to seek a leadership role, and JFGP was a perfect match.”
Abbie says Pathways taught her the value of both professional and board participation.
“Pathways helped me to realize that even though I came on as a Fellow for OneTable part time, my work was impactful and important,” she says. “I remember the Pathways session where we learned about what it means to be on a board ... it’s also about your time and energy that you give back to the Jewish community.”
Now Emily enjoys mentoring future leaders. She recently helped lead the first retreat for Federation’s new Young Adult Board (see related story).
“The biggest impact for me has been living generational leadership, L’dor V’dor, and my ability to mentor others in the future,” says Emily.