Frankel’s associate director of the annual campaign knew the Jewish community was where she wanted to work.
Jackie Yashinsky always knew she wanted to work with the Jewish community, but the question was how.
The associate director of the annual campaign at Frankel Jewish Academy says the “aha” moment came during her years at Michigan State University, when she realized that working with the Jewish community was a career path she could easily pursue.
“It took me a little bit of time to realize that people do this for a living,” she says of the field she’s currently in. “I realized I was spending all of my time focused on programming in my involvement with MSU Hillel or spending my time brainstorming camp programs.”
These opportunities, Yashinsky explains, felt more exciting than most of the work she was doing in the classroom as she studied for her degree in social work and Jewish studies. The real-life experience showed her how impactful her efforts could be.
“That’s when I realized this was a career path,” she says.
Building a Career in the Jewish Community
Now in her role at Frankel, Yashinsky, 33, of Huntington Woods, manages the annual campaign by helping with fundraising, galas and crowdfunding. The other half of her role is focused on alumni engagement and building relationships with former students.
“The most rewarding thing so far has been talking with alumni and hearing even 15-20 years later the impact their high school experience had on them,” she says of Frankel. “Especially the oldest alumni who helped to really build the school.”
Yashinsky, who began her role in March, says it was a natural complement for her interests. “I’ve always been impressed by what Frankel Jewish Academy has done,” she explains, “and I wanted to be a part of it. I saw this role, and it seemed like a good fit.”
Yet this isn’t Yashinsky’s first foray into Jewish life in Metro Detroit. She previously worked as director of teen programs at Tamarack Camps’ she remained with the organization for six-and-a-half years and created important summer programming for teens. She also helped organize teen missions to Israel in conjunction with the camp.
Before that, Yashinsky worked at the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills as a development associate, managing daily fundraising donations and logistics and creating new programming to engage children and young adults.
“That was my first job out of college, and that was a really rewarding experience,” Yashinsky recalls.
“I learned so much about the Jewish professional career path from there.”
Every day, Yashinsky, who grew up in Farmington Hills, says walking into the building and seeing the famous boxcar on display was a powerful and moving image that encouraged her to work hard to spread the message about Holocaust awareness.
“I got to build relationships with Holocaust survivors and children of survivors,” she explains, “and learned the impact the Holocaust had generations later on families.”
She even took a young professionals’ trip to Poland through Partners Detroit, where she saw firsthand the remnants of concentration camps and ghettos from the Second World War.
“It was a very eye-opening place to work,” Yashinsky says of the museum.
A Vibrant Jewish Life
Looking back, Yashinsky feels grateful her career path led her to be so involved with the Metro Detroit Jewish community. It was a passion that began as early as her days being involved in BBYO as a teen.
“My whole career since college, I’ve only ever worked for Jewish organizations,” she explains. “I care very much about our Jewish community and keeping a vibrant Jewish community.”
In addition to her staff work, Yashinsky has also been a part of numerous Jewish boards. She’s a past board member of MSU Hillel and has been involved with NEXTGen Detroit, JFamily and Partners Detroit, among others.
Outside of work, Yashinsky enjoys spending time with her husband, Joey, and two daughters Elizabeth and Goldie. She loves to read, to be outside and to watch her kids grow up. Yashinsky is also a serious board gamer who loves a good game of Battleship.
“When I went to college, I was a student who took every major’s intro class,” she says. “I had many different paths, but I realized once I shifted my path that my ultimate goal was to work professionally in the Jewish community.”