Harry Kay Leadership Institute

What will the Jewish community look like in 2030? 2045? If the Harry Kay Leadership Institute alumni have anything to say about it, we should all feel pretty optimistic.

The Harry Kay Leadership Institute is the Twin Cities’ flagship program for developing and training Jewish leaders. Since its inception in 1993, HKLI has been inspiring and assisting emerging leaders in addressing the issues and challenges facing Jews as a community and individually, and the program established the standard for locally developed, high-level Jewish leadership training programs in the United States.

Through the course of nine iterations, HKLI has developed and trained over 300 individuals. Armed with leadership tools provided by the program, HKLI alumni have assumed critical leadership roles throughout the Twin Cities Jewish community and beyond. Over time, the curriculum has been revised and re-tooled based on best leadership development practices and Twin Cities Jewish community needs.

Cohort X is our tenth HKLI cohort. Made up of 40 talented and inspiring leaders from our community, Cohort X’s two years will build on the experiences of previous cohorts and provide members the tools and support they need to be effective community leaders in 2019 and beyond. Meet the newest members of the Harry Kay family!


Jewish communities are changing rapidly and the successful leaders of today and tomorrow require different training than previous generations. The current HKLI curriculum takes this into consideration and equips participants with the concrete skills and leadership tools needed to successfully navigate today’s Jewish community. The curriculum also stresses the power of collaboration, builds participants’ knowledge of and engagement in the local and global Jewish communities, and propels them forward on their personal leadership journey.

The HKLI program also includes opportunities for self-assessment and development of a customized leadership plan.  In addition, the curriculum for each cohort is updated to reflect the changing nature of the local Jewish community and to incorporate the latest best practices in leadership development.



Through monthly sessions over a two-year period, participants embark on a leadership journey together.  The first year focuses on diving into the interconnected web that is the Twin Cities Jewish ecosystem, deepening participants’ understanding of our community and how it intersects with the larger Jewish world. Year two focuses on personal leadership development – concrete skills, tools, and frameworks, rooted in Jewish values and through a Jewish lens.



Midway through the program, the HKLI cohort travels together to Israel and Eastern Europe to see firsthand the realities of leading Jewish communities around the world.  Highlights include meeting Holocaust survivors, understanding the beauty and complexity of Israel and the needs of Eastern European Jewish communities, engaging and sharing ideas with local community leaders, and, of course, celebrating Shabbat in Jerusalem.

After this 10-day trip, participants return with a deeper understanding of the global Jewish landscape and even more inspired to continue their journey to becoming a Jewish community leader.


The Harry Kay Leadership Institute program begins and ends with an immersive Shabbatonؙ—a chance to truly get to know the group you’ll be learning with, leading with, and breaking bread with for many years to come.