Rabbi Yitz Tendler was born in Jerusalem and raised in Baltimore, Md., before moving to Atlanta in 2011. He is executive director of Congregation Beth Jacob, the largest Orthodox synagogue in the region.
In addition to his innovative synagogue work, he has played a central leadership role in various broader community initiatives, such as the Hurricane Irma Relief Effort, which housed and fed more than 1,500 Floridians for a week in 2017, and the annual Toco Hills Shabbat Block Party. He also conceived of Cookies for Israel, a project that assembled 117,000 cookies in the form of an enormous Israeli flag last year, breaking a Guinness World Record and raising funds for Israeli charities.
“I think finding touchstones throughout the year that highlight shared values and interests can have a really positive yearlong impact,” Tendler said.
He also helped found the Atlanta Israel Coalition in 2018. On the national stage, Tendler is a founder of a national organization for young Jews active in conservative politics, and frequently travels throughout the U.S., especially Washington, D.C., as well as leading trips to Israel.
“Atlanta as a city has a great energy, bridging the past and future. This is also true of the Jewish community, which I hope will continue to grow and expand while also looking back and having a sense of reverence for those who came before us and what they undertook to get us to where we are today,” he said.
He was recently named a senior fellow for Israel and Jewish affairs by the American Conservative Union, the nation’s oldest conservative organization.
When not working, teaching, or watching his kids, you can find him rollerblading on the Atlanta BeltLine. He lives in Toco Hills with his wife Russy and children.