Harry Kay Leadership Institute

Jewish communities are in a period of flux. Established institutions are struggling to keep up with trends in fundraising and business. The makeup of the Jewish community is steadily changing. Though challenging to navigate, these changes will result in a stronger, more diverse Jewish community—if we have capable leadership to guide us.  

Today’s successful leader requires different training than in previous generations. With this in mind, HKCLE Director Lauren Kaplan developed an entirely new HKLI curriculum. While past Institutes exclusively examined the local and global Jewish landscape, the new program adds an entire year of focused, individualized leadership training. 


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 an eighteen-month period, participants embark on a leadership journey together.  The first half 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. The second half 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 to see firsthand the realities of leading Jewish communities around the world.  Highlights include meeting Holocaust survivors, understanding the beauty and complexity of Israel, 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 are 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.