Day in, day out. Year to year. For decades, Heather Katz, Sandy Klein, and Arie Katz have made significant contributions to enrich Jewish life in Orange County. These three Jewish leaders will be honored for their impact to the Orange County Jewish community at the Congregation B’nai Israel annual Gala on Sunday, March 29.
A southern California native, Heather Katz accompanied her mother who volunteered extensively at Temple Israel of Long Beach. Heather became close to both Rabbi Kaelter and the office manager Herda Freiberg, a Holocaust survivor. Learning Herda’s stories planted Heather’s passion for civil rights. She has carried this torch forward serving on the boards of ADL, CBI, and Women’s Philanthropy as well as volunteering at Family Promise’s Sunday Supper and the Isaiah House, a shelter for homeless women. With a Bachelor’s degree in English from UCI, Heather started as a copywriter at an ad agency, became an account executive and was also helping art galleries with their marketing before starting her thriving art business, TKOArt. Heather and her husband Stuart joined CBI after getting married in 1993 and have been involved in the synagogue ever since. In fact, Heather has been instrumental with Ways and Means and every annual Gala for 25 years as well as lending a hand whenever and wherever needed.
Both of Sandy Klein’s parents were refugees from World War II. Her mother spent the years in hiding in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland, while her father’s family immigrated to China, the only country at the time that would accept them without visas, before moving to the United States. Sandy grew up in Schenectady, New York, which had a very small Jewish population. Peers asked her a lot of questions so she would explain Judaism, and she became involved in Jewish life with the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. With a Masters in Public Administration and Social Work, Sandy worked as a budget analyst for the US Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. She met her husband, Robert, on a blind date in D.C. and they have been married 36 years. They moved to Texas and later to California for Robert’s burgeoning marketing career. Sandy joined the CBI board shortly after becoming a member. With her impressive resume, she was named Executive Director of the synagogue and has served in this role for 18 years. In this position, she has ensured daily operations proceed smoothly. Most of all, she has furthered the synagogue’s culture of providing a welcoming environment to all participants.
When he was seven years old, Arie Katz’s family moved from South Africa to Boston and he attended an Orthodox Jewish Day school from first grade to graduation. Arie served as President of Hillel during his undergraduate studies at Princeton, head of both the Jewish law students association at Georgetown, and the Jewish Lawyers Association in Boston. After moving to Orange County and joining CBI twenty years ago, he attended a synagogue family retreat that featured a scholar in residence. Arie realized that Orange County did not offer extensive adult education programming, inspiring him to start the Community Scholar Program. Now entering its 20th year, CSP has hosted over 500 programs partnering with Jewish agencies and synagogues throughout Orange County. The cornerstone is the scholar in residence program which is complemented with speaking engagements, camping trips, an annual international trip, and musical events throughout each year. The CSP contact list has over 2,000 subscribers, and over 4,000 adults and nearly 1,000 families have been participating in the program. Arie also founded CBI Coastal over 15 years ago and he has helped to bring many speakers and programs to CBI. While serving as Chief Real Estate Counsel for LA Fitness, Arie continues to lead CSP with a personal goal of ensuring Orange County offers an enriching Jewish adult education program.
Join the CBI congregation to honor these three Jewish leaders for their enduring contributions to the community! Additional information is available at www.cbi18.org.