Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, graduating with distinction in surgery. 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. He then served as a medical officer in the South African Defense Forces and served in the Angolan Bush War. 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.
Although not raised as an observant Jew, Tatz later rediscovered Judaism and became a baal teshuva, or returnee. He is currently on staff at the Jewish Learning Exchange and Ohr Somayach, and in the past has been a guest lecturer at Gateways. 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.”
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 in Jewish thought and medical ethics, as well as on modern applications in medicine. He is also involved with the Jerusalem Center for Research in Medicine and Halacha, often speaking at their annual European events.
He currently resides in London, England.