Ben-Tzion Spitz, Rabbinic CV
Summary: Veteran communal and organizational leader with great success in informal education. Executive management of Rabbinic administration. Prolific writer and experienced lecturer on range of Jewish subjects including Torah, Talmud, Halachah and more.
Chief Rabbi, Uruguay – 2013 to 2017
- Responsible for management of all rabbinic services and administration for the Jewish community of Uruguay.
- Responsibilities included:
Pastoring and counseling.
Mediation and arbitration.
Assistance and accompaniment in conversions, marriages and divorces.
Kashrut certification, cemetery administration and burial society for entire Uruguayan community.
- Succeeded in bringing entire Jewish community of Montevideo together (Reform, unaffiliated, Ultra-Orthodox – something that hasn’t happened in history of the community), for historic Shabbat Project.
- Public face. Interviewed by national newspapers and television for Jewish perspective and insights.
- Introduced policy of requiring all marriages under the institution’s auspices to sign pre-nuptial agreement regarding performing the Get ceremony if civilly divorced.
Torah Author – 2008 to present
- Author of “Torah Shorts” weekly Torah articles, in English and Spanish. Subscriber list of over 4,000 people from all streams of Judaism as well as other religions. Personal blog http://ben-tzion.com receives visitors from over 100 countries.
- 10 books published including:
Mikraot Ketanot. Compilation of short articles based on classic commentaries on the weekly Torah reading. Volume includes commentaries of Ibn Ezra, Ohr Hachayim, Baal Haturim and the Netziv for every reading of the calendar year.
Joshua: Conqueror, Biblical Fiction novel considered for movie adaptation.
“Destiny’s Call” series of Biblical Fiction short stories based on the weekly Torah reading.
Commandments in Color (Hebrew). Visual presentation of listing of commandments of the Sefer HaChinuch according to the categorization of Maimonides. Includes statistical analysis and other novel visualizations of Biblical texts.
- Co-author of new “Al Hanisim” prayer for Yom Atzmaut.
- Co-author of new prayers in memory of and for the wounded of the 9/11 attacks, commissioned and published for book including articles by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Norman Lamm and others.
- Author of various “Torah and Science” articles distributed widely.
- Full collection of writings, over 700 articles, posts and stories, available at ben-tzion.com.
Torah Lecturer – 1997 to present
- Eshkolot Tanach Teacher’s Training Program (Hebrew U. & Matan). Biblical Fiction.
- Limmud conference. Lecture title: Sodom – Confusing Good and Evil.
- Catholic University of Montevideo as part of Jewish Bible Studies. Lectured on Ruth, Job, and Maimonides’ Principles of Faith.
- University of the Republic of Uruguay, Faculty of Law. Lectures: Jewish Law as an Algorithm for Social Behavior; The Talmudic view of Physics.
- ORT University: Biblical Fiction, is it Good or Bad?
- Nuevo Congregacion Israelita. Topics: The Laws of Miracles; Modern Astronomy in Ancient Rituals.
- Integral and Yavne Jewish High Schools of Montevideo (range of topics).
- Regular lecturer at multiple community venues.
- Taught Tanach class in Spanish to South American students in Yeshivat Har Etzion program.
- Taught introductory Talmud to Australian and South African students in Yeshivat Har Etzion.
- Taught Daf Yomi in Yeshivat Hakotel to English-speaking students as part of weekly rotation.
- Created and taught new course on Biblical Fiction and Creative Writing in women’s seminary in Jerusalem.
- Taught Daf Yomi in English in Alon Shvut as part of weekly rotation.
- Guest lecturer at Yeshivot, Seminaries and within the Alon Shvut community.
Other Jewish Organizational Experience
Board of Directors, Livnot U’Lehibanot – 2005 – 2006
Jewish outreach organization with centers in Tzfat and Jerusalem. Focus on volunteer programs for diaspora visitors.
Founder and Owner, Taamei Hamikra, Alon Shvut, Israel – 2005.
Created unique coffee shop/sefarim store that combined shiurim and cultural events in a warm, attractive setting that became a hub for informal Torah learning for very different cross-sections of the community.
Director of Overseas Program of Yeshivat Hakotel – 2004
Overall responsibility for the program of approximately 100 students, including budgeting, financial planning, grant applications, fundraising, management of the staff and ensuring the overall success of the student experience and the program.
Youth Director – 1990-1991, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Manhattan, NY.
Served as Youth Director for one of the largest Synagogues in New York, under the leadership of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Was responsible for 10 staff and up to 300 children on a weekly basis. Conducted special programming for wider community for the various holidays.
Chapter Advisor (Head ‘Madrich’/ ‘Rosh Snif’ equivalent) – 1988-1990, Various Synagogues in NY and NJ.
Ran NCSY activities for Jewish youth from elementary and high school ages in both Orthodox and Conservative Synagogues for children from a broad spectrum of Jewish backgrounds.
- Semicha from HaRav Dovid Ostroff of Har Nof, Jerusalem, Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim. 2007-2010. Hilchot Shabbat.
- Learning in the Bet Midrash of Yeshivat Har Etzion since 1997.
- Participated in Tanach classes from some of the world’s leading educators in Michlelet Herzog since 1997.
- Yeshiva University 1988-1990. In shiur of Rav Shimon Romm, Z”L (from the original Mir Yeshiva). Maintained Havruta with Rav Romm after graduation.
- Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh 1986-1988
English – Mother tongue
Hebrew – Fluent
Spanish – Fluent
Portuguese – Basic
Please see attached file for general CV.