The Kay Usdan Saslawsky Institute for Ethical Leadership

Kay Usdan Saslawsky was optimistic and supportive, inspiring and accomplished, a consensus builder and respectful of others. She was an ethical leader who set the standards for leadership in the Memphis Jewish community as well as in the broader community. When she passed away suddenly in May 2015, her friends and family formed a committee to seek out ways of honoring her memory in a meaningful and lasting way. They rallied around the idea of continuing Kay’s legacy of ethical leadership through the creation of a community leadership program.


The Kay Usdan Saslawsky Institute for Ethical Leadership is a 7-part leadership seminar that will take place in Spring 2017, sponsored by Jewish Community Partners and held at the MJCC. The seminar will be facilitated by outstanding educators and community leaders Rachel Shankman and Rabbi Feivel Strauss, who will be teaching a curriculum developed by award-winning author and speaker Dr. Erica Brown. Each session will include a leadership case study as well as a Jewish text study component. No previous formal Jewish education is necessary in order to participate.


Program participants (Fellows) should be active, engaged members of the Memphis Jewish community who have already demonstrated a willingness to work toward the betterment of the community, and who are prepared to step up their involvement following the completion of the program. They can be men or women, of any age and background, but they must be willing to engage with fellow participants and listen respectfully to all the voices in the room. They must also commit to attending every session.


Sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings, January 10, January 24, Februrary 7, February 21, March 7, March 21, and April 4, 6-8 P.M. with optional kosher dinner beforehand at 5:30 P.M.


While JCP is heavily subsidizing the program, there is a participation fee of $250, payable in two installments of $125, to cover program materials and included meals. Need-based scholarships are available.


To view a sample lesson, click here.

To apply for the program, click here.


Please contact Gila Golder,, with any questions or to recommend someone else for the program.