Akiva Tatz

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Tatz (left) answering questions after a presentation in Passaic, New Jersey.

Akiva Tatz is a prominent South African Orthodox rabbi, inspirational speaker and writer who is heavily involved in Orthodox Jewish outreach. He is also a doctor and world-renowned expert in Jewish medical ethics.[1][better source needed]


Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.[2][3] He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, graduating with distinction in surgery.[1] He then spent a year in St. Louis, Missouri as an American Field Service Scholar and subsequently returned there for elective work in internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.[4] He then served as a medical officer in the South African Defence Force and served in the Angolan Bush War.[5] After practicing in both South Africa and the United States, he moved to Israel, and worked both in private practice as well as in a hospital setting in Jerusalem.

Not raised as an observant Jew, Tatz discovered Orthodox Judaism in adulthood and became a baal teshuva. He is currently on staff at the Jewish Learning Exchange[2] and Ohr Somayach,[6] and in the past has been a guest lecturer at Gateways.[7] Rabbi Tatz gives lectures to Jewish student groups and organisations across the UK, including an annual medical ethics lecture at University College London hosted by both the Jewish Society and Medical Ethics Society. He is also a regular lecturer on the Jewish Learning Exchange Genesis leadership programme. He has become a recognized expert in matters of Jewish thought and philosophy, which he covers in his authored texts. Zoketsu Norman Fischer, former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and founder of and teacher at the Everyday Zen Foundation, describes Tatz's work, Letters to a Buddhist Jew, as "a fascinating book - the most serious contribution in this field to date."[citation needed]

Tatz is both the founder and director of the Jerusalem Medical Ethics Forum, whose purpose is to promote knowledge of Jewish medical ethics internationally, giving lectures worldwide[8] in Jewish thought and medical ethics,[2] as well as on modern applications in medicine.[9] He is also involved with the Jerusalem Center for Research in Medicine and Halacha, often speaking at its annual European events.[10]

He currently resides in London, England.


Tatz's works have been translated into Spanish, French and Portuguese[2] and Russian:[11]

  • Anatomy of a Search (ArtScroll, 1987)
  • Living Inspired (Targum Press, 1993)
  • Worldmask (Targum Press, 1995)
  • The Thinking Jewish Teenager's Guide to Life (Targum Press, 1999)
  • Letters to a Buddhist Jew (Targum Press, 2004)
  • Dangerous Disease and Dangerous Therapy in Jewish Medical Ethics (Targum Press, 2010)
  • Will, Freedom, and Destiny (Targum Press, 2014)
  • As Dawn Ends The Night (Targum Press, 2018)


  1. ^ a b "Cincinnati Communities | The Enquirer | cincinnati.com". Cincinnati.com. 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  3. ^ Gideon Shimoni, Community and Conscience: The Jews in Apartheid South Africa, UPNE 2003, ISBN 1-58465-329-9 page 236.
  4. ^ "4th International Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics". www.jmec.ch. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Dynamic beginnings, Dynamic Lives by Rabbi Akiva Tatz". www.jewishworldreview.com. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz - September 9 2009, New York". Ohr Somayach. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Gateways - Guest Lecturers". Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  8. ^ First International Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics Archived 17 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Guest Speaker at NYU Medical Center, 3 May 2007[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Jerusalem Center for Research - Medicine and Halacha". www.j-c-r.org. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Find Jewish Holy Books For Any Holiday or Occasion | Judaica.com". www.judaism.com. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

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