Here is just a small sample of the impact Rabbi Gary Katz has made in people’s lives:
Throughout the entire process Rabbi Katz was professional with a sense of humor that makes him the only person you want officiating the biggest day of your life. He put us at ease as soon as we got to the chuppah, and charmed all of our family and friends. Every person came up to us after the ceremony and told us it was the most sentimental and intimate ceremony they had ever been to. I know this was all due to Rabbi Katz’s ability to connect with everyone he meets. Choosing his as our officiant was truly the best decision we made during the entire wedding process and we are eternally grateful for his support he extended before and on our wedding day. Thank you for everything! – Zabrina Langer and Aaron Charapp
When it comes to planning a wedding things can get overwhelming and hectic. One thing that was not stressful was finding our rabbi. From the minute we met Rabbi Katz, we felt as if he was an old friend. He not only is very kind and extremely accommodating, but he is also funny. Rabbi Katz used humor and personality to reflect our love for each other to our guests. He added a personal touch and created a beautiful ceremony. It left a memorable impression on us and people mentioned it for months following the wedding. We are grateful to have had him as a part of our special day.
—Steven and Mallory Greenberg
My husband Jay and I had an amazing wedding experience with Rabbi Gary Katz. After weeks of getting to know us, he made an absolutely magical wedding day. His sermon during the wedding couldn’t have been more personal. He connected with each and everyone of our wedding guests. Rabbi Katz’s personality can light up a room. We are so lucky to have Rabbi Katz in our lives and look forward to a our lifetime relationship.
—Ali & Jay Bross
We were really happy we chose Gary to be the Rabbi for our wedding. He was extremely down to earth and easy to talk to. More importantly, he spent time with us and really learned about us and our families. On the day of the wedding, he paid attention to the many details, which made us feel comfortable knowing we didnt need to sweat the small stuff. Many attendees comments afterwards about what wonderful words Gary had to say and how considerate and knowledgeable he was about both our families. Gary will be very easy to refer should someone ask us in the future. Thanks forever Gary!!!
-Mitchell Hirschorn and Sam Schwarz
Asking Gary Katz to officiate was one of the best decisions my husband and I made for our wedding. My husband attended graduate school with Gary, and Gary was the first person he thought of when we began looking for officiants. We were looking for our ceremony to be really personal and reflect us as a couple, and Gary accomplished just that. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we started the process, but I was pleasantly surprised every step of the way. Prior to the wedding, Gary took the time to get to know us both individually and as a couple. He walked us through our options and helped us to clarify our vision for the ceremony. His beautiful words during our ceremony were personal, humorous, and poignant. We received several compliments about the ceremony, with many guests saying that it was the most personal and moving that they have attended. I would highly recommend Gary to anyone.
– Emily and Andy Dean
Bar & Bat Mitzvah
Rabbi Katz is a wonderful spiritual leader and was instrumental in making our son’s Bar Mitzvah a memorable day for all of us. His guidance helped Bryce really understand the significance of the day and we truly appreciated his generosity of time, spirt and insight. He has given our son a gift that will last him his lifetime, and for that, we are so grateful.
—Lisa Robins, mother of Bryce
From the moment we met Rabbi Katz, we knew we were all in good hands. People were constantly amazed that our son, a very social athlete actually looked forward to his weekly lessons. Noah truly wanted to study and practice – this is from a child that we have to force to study everything else. Rabbi Katz found a way to motivate and encourage him – something he did not get from traditional Hebrew school. As I told Rabbi Katz in my speech, he, not I gave Noah the gift of being proud to be Jewish. Our service was incredibly warm and intimate and enjoyed by all that attended. To this day,we always hear how special Noah’s service was – and it truly was unforgettable.
—Lisa Shamus, mother of Noah
Gary, I was just thinking about how grateful Ilana and I are to have you in our lives and more important, in the lives of our children. As you know, we have been tormented by the seemingly insurmountable challenge of raising our kids in a world altogether lacking in any sort of spirituality to embrace a strong Jewish identity and Jewish tradition, to be proud of that identity and to carry it forward. We have explored synagogues from the Reform side to the Lubavich end of the spectrum and it just did not feel right, not for lack of trying. It was a miracle, nothing short of that, to have met you through Lauren and Steve, and we are most grateful to them as well for making the introduction.
Your special way of teaching Judaism is working and I just wanted you to know that. Alex and Julian (and even Karina, who last year referred to our religion as “Hanukah People”!) are enjoying Hebrew School in a way that I never did and we are so happy that they look forward to seeing you and their other friends for class. Especially Alex, but I think that may have more to do with seeing Sarah than learning Hebrew! We were so confused about what we were looking for in Jewish studies for our kids, and then you came along and gave us all we were hoping for and more. And now my wife is contemplating Bat Mitzvah lessons, thanks to you. Miracles do happen! Anyway, I just wanted you to know how much your talents as a teacher, Rabbi and friend mean to all of us.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first hired Rabbi Gary Katz to present a lecture for older adults on Jewish gangsters; however, it was so popular (75 attended!) that we decided to offer another one. He was very knowledgeable and related well to the seniors, so I arranged for more presentations (on Sex, Love & Aging, and Jews in Comedy). After each program I received several compliments and requests to bring him back! Other senior centers started asking me for Rabbi Gary’s contact information, too!
– Melanie Rubin, Director of Senior & Adult Programs,
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in San Diego, CA
Students Speak Out
Hebrew school was a great experience for me this year. We had a lot of fun, made many memories, and still learned a lot in the process. I look forward to having my bat mitzvah and sharing all of the valuable information that I learned.
I never thought learning could be fun but Gary proved me wrong. He secretly filled our brains with knowledge as we laughed and did activities. At all of my other Hebrew schools we would sit in desks for hours while the teacher rambled on and on and it never seemed to end. At Gary’s Saddle River Hebrew Class, we learn everything we would learn at a different Hebrew School but, we get to be taught with our friends and the teacher is our friend. This was a great year and I learned a lot!
– Sarah Schachtel 2014
Gary is the best rabbi a kid could have! He is funny, caring considerate, and does not next me during class. Well, sometimes he does. I love how he wishes us a happy birthday on our birthday when no other rabbi would. He is a great singer *cough cough* and he loves singing and pretending that hand rollers are his microphone. I love “Big Daddy” just the way he is and I hope he never changes!
– Alex Rosenberg 2014
This year, Hebrew School has been very exciting and for once, I actually enjoyed it. It was very different from other Hebrew Schools and Gary was different from all the other Rabbis. This year I learned more Hebrew letters and Jewish geography. Gary taught us very well, therefor I I understood everything much more clearly. Hebrew School has been a great experience for me this year and I hope to continue next year as well.
– Julian Rosenberg 2014