Rabbi Katz named interim executive director of Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies
Rochester, NY (11/10/2021) — The Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies at Nazareth College has named Rabbi Alan J. Katz, well-known rabbi emeritus of Rochester's Temple Sinai, as its interim executive director.
The Konar Center seeks to provide educational opportunities for all students on Judaism, Jewish texts, and tolerance. The Center also works to strengthen tolerance and multi-cultural understanding among the diversity of Nazareth students and community members through programming that builds on the strengths of the Jewish heritage, while advancing religious pluralism. The Konar Center partners with two existing Nazareth centers dedicated to interfaith understanding: the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue and the Center for Spirituality.
Rabbi Katz served as senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Rochester from 1986 until June 2020, when he became Rabbi Emeritus. A graduate of Lehigh University and Hebrew Union College, he received a master's in Hebrew literature (1975), rabbinic ordination (1976) and a doctor of Divinity (2001). He also studied in the graduate program for pastoral counseling at Iona College for two years.
Rabbi Katz has served on numerous community organizations including the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, The Interfaith Forum, the advisory board for the Hickey Center for Interfaith Study and Dialogue at Nazareth College, the Commission on Christian Jewish Relations, and the Commission of Jewish Muslim Understanding. He taught courses in Judaism and Christian-Jewish relations at Nazareth College from 1988-1997.
In the Jewish community he has served on the board of the Jewish Community Federation and has chaired both the Community Relations Committee and the Partnership Together with Modi'in. He also served on the steering committee of the Levine Center to End Hate. He has twice served as President of the Rochester Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Katz was one of three signatories of the Rochester Agreement between the Rochester Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Community Federation, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in 1986. Along with Bishop Matthew Clark, he co-led the Rochester Interfaith Mission to Israel in the summer of 1998. In 2005, again with Bishop Clark, he co-led a mission to Rome to celebrate 10 years of the Rochester Agreement, during which the group met with leaders from the Vatican as well as Pope Benedict. On October 4, 2001, Rabbi Katz was invited to Washington, D.C. to deliver the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives at this very critical time in our nation's life.
A national search for the permanent Executive Director of the Konar Center is underway, to be completed in spring 2022.