In addition to programming meant for the public and students, the Katz Center works with specific organizations to connect rabbis and other communal leaders to scholars and cutting-edge research.
One such example is the LEAP program, an innovative partnership with Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. LEAP brings to the Katz Center a cohort of rabbis drawn from diverse American Jewish communities to learn from fellows, enlisting these influential voices in the Jewish world to translate and disseminate the wealth of scholarship carried out at the Katz Center each year, and charging them to put new learning to good use in their communities.
Over the course of three two-day retreats hosted by the Center, the rabbis have an opportunity to wrestle with the work being done on the annual fellowship theme, which varies widely from year to year. Each cohort and topic is unique, but the common factor is the close study of complex ideas and sources, whether textual or historical, taught by world experts on those topics.
LEAP is energizing and enlightening for communal leaders who harbor serious intellectual interests but whose vocations often pull them in competing directions. Likewise, scholars who teach in the program report that their engaged and enthusiastic rabbinic interlocutors lead them to new insights and perspectives. Rabbis return to their communities with a mandate to apply their learning, be it directly—through sermon, adult education, and other forms of teaching—or indirectly—having a deeper historical or conceptual context for key issues in contemporary Jewish life, or driving innovative pastoral approaches.