Last evening I learned that Rabbi Dennis Katz passed away yesterday in Chicago. While most of you did not even know his name, he was one of the best friends the FJC will ever have.
Dennis was the Rabbi of the Conservative Synagogue Temple Shaare Tikvah B’Nai Zion. A holder of Orthodox smicha, Dennis had a long and significant career in the health care industry. Upon retirement, in 2000 he returned to the Rabbinate and has led STBZ for the past ten years, including managing a recent move of the synagogue to a new and more vibrant location.
We in camping met Dennis in his role as an advisor to the One Happy Camper Program. He counseled us in many aspects as well as lovingly overseeing the program in Chicago.
It was my pleasure to get to know Dennis during my many visits to Chicago, as well as a trip to Israel. He was a gentle soul of uncommon integrity and kindness. It was only after you got to know him that you realized the intense passion he brought to his congregation, the campership program and the future of the Jewish people. We are all diminished by his passing.
As chair of the Foundation over the past five years I have had the honor to meet a number of people who share our dedication and commitment to camping. Few of them had the impact on me that Dennis did each time we were together. His wise counsel never failed to help me to do the right thing for our campers. I shall miss him as a friend, mentor and amazing supporter.
Hamakom yinachem etchem b’toch sh’ar avalei Tziyon v’Yerushalayim. May God’s presence comfort the family among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
– Skip Vichness, Chair, Board of Directors, Foundation for Jewish Camp