Neal Katz, TX HD-6
Neal grew up in Virginia Beach, VA. Neal father's is a jeweler and has run his own small jewelry business for nearly 50 years. He is a Navy Veteran who served in Vietnam, and his belief in the power of small business and a strong work ethic has been a great influence on him.
Neal's mother was a nurse for 35 years – and she worked in the same hospital where she was born! Most of her nursing career was in Labor and Delivery, but she was also a private childbirth educator for many years. Her compassion as a nurse combined with her medical expertise was always a source of inspiration to Neal. In her retirement, she is an active volunteer in her community – proving that the loving heart never rests.
Neal is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA with a degree in political science. He continued my graduate studies there in counseling before heading off to Israel to begin a five-year training to become a rabbi. After finishing seminary in Cincinnati, OH, Neal moved to Tyler, TX to serve as the rabbi at Congregation Beth El. And, he's have never left.
Neal has an amazing wife, Jennifer, and three wonderful children, Micah, Lila, and Rebecca – all of whom are proud students in Tyler public schools.
During his 15 years in Tyler, Neal has been honored to serve with local and state-wide non-profits and civic boards. On those boards, he has worked with Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between – because when it comes to serving our community, I know East Texas is at its best when we work together.
Neal has served in the following capacities:
- Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce – current Board Member
- Tyler Area Partnership for Education - Leadership Team member and Middle School Liaison
- Philosophical Society of Texas - Life Member, inducted in 2013
- City of Tyler Parks and Recreation Board - former Board member
- City of Tyler Arts Coalition Leadership team - current advisor
- Hospice of East Texas - former Board chair
- Hospice of East Texas Foundation - current Board member
- Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas - founding Board Member and former Board chair
- Discovery Science Place - Former Board member, Gala Committee member, and 2017 Gala Honoree
- Tyler Ministerial Alliance - Former chair
- Leadership Tyler - graduate of Class 19 and current panelist for LT's Diversity Day
- Art of Peace - co-founder and current committee member
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration - former event organizer
- Texas Peace Summit - co-founder and organizer
- Texas Freedom Network - current Board Member
- P.A.T.H. (People Attempting to Help) - former Board member and Board chair
- UT Health Northeast - former member of Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Ethics Committee
He has also taught full courses at both UT Tyler and Tyler Junior College over the years and is an active speaker at many local schools, churches, and civic groups. In addition to all this, Neal is a performing musician.
In 2005, Neal was the recipient of the prestigious T.B. Butler Award for "Most Outstanding Citizen in Tyler 2004" by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. He shared this award with my friend, Anwar Khalifa. In 2012, Neal was honored again by the Tyler Chamber of Commerce with the W.C. Windsor Award for Outstanding Community Service by a citizen under the age of 40. In 2008, Neal received the Martin Luther King award for Non-Violent Social Change at the MLK, Jr. Day Celebration in Tyler.