New Jersey Family Names Program Promoting Jewish Identity and Heritage Awareness in Israeli Society
(JERUSALEM- November 16, 2022) The Israel-based educational network Ohr Torah Stone (OTS) has announced the naming of the Monique and Mordecai Katz Yachad Program for Jewish Identity made possible with a historic gift by the family of Monique and Mordecai z”l Katz of Englewood, New Jersey. The gift will provide substantial support necessary for the operation and growth of the OTS initiative which provides a wide variety of programming to empower Israelis of all Jewish backgrounds to strengthen their Jewish connection and embrace Judaism as a source of meaning, guidance and pride.
Each year the Monique and Mordecai Katz Yachad Program for Jewish Identity reaches over 300,000 Israeli Jews around the country through efforts such as community holiday programs, a bar and bat mitzvah educational program, dialogue groups, outings and a series of other ongoing initiatives designed to strengthen Jewish identity and unity within the broader Israeli society.
“The Katz family name is synonymous both in Israel and North America with the promotion of thoughtful Torah and academic knowledge for men and women of all backgrounds and learning abilities. In naming this program that engages hundreds of thousands of secular Israelis in exploring their Jewish identity, the Katz family further expands their legacy,” said Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone. “The Yachad Program for Jewish Identity has shown that despite the many challenges and rifts we face in Israeli society, the average Israeli is thirsty for community, connection and meaning. Yachad’s appealing and welcoming programming is empowering them to take ownership of their Jewish heritage, explore their national identity, and find common ground with their neighbors, ultimately building a stronger, more spiritually engaged nation.”
The Monique and Mordecai Katz Yachad Program is staffed by a team of over 30 “Jewish Cultural Coordinators” who work directly with local matnasim (community centers) in 80 locations across the country. The team is specifically trained to provide meaningful, relevant and welcoming Jewish experiential programming in which Jews of all backgrounds and ages feel comfortable and find significance.
The Katz family, renowned for supporting a myriad of causes in Jewish life, education, and healthcare both in the United States and Israel said that the Yachad vision made the project a natural fit for their philanthropic vision.
“Yachad is engaging the hearts of Jews all over Israel. We know that no two Jews are the same and we firmly believe that this program is a wonderful way to bring meaning and purpose to the lives of so many Israelis of vastly different backgrounds by allowing them to connect to their Jewish heritage in settings beyond the traditional school or synagogue. We believe it will truly make a significant difference for the future of this country which we all love and support,” the family said.