Rabbi Olitzky serves as rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ. A native of New Jersey and graduate of the local Golda Och Academy (previously the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union), Rabbi O is excited to return the his Jersey roots and be a part of such a warm, vibrant, progressive, and welcoming congregation.
Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to ordination, he received an MA in Jewish Education from JTS’ William Davidson School of Education, a BA in American Religion from Columbia University and a BA Cum Laude from the Albert A. List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Talmud. Previously, Rabbi Olitzky served as part of the rabbinic team at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in Jacksonville, FL. He also served as Rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Israel in Kingston, NY and as rabbi of Temple Emanuel at Parkchester, NY. Additionally, he spent two years as part of the rabbinic team at the Orangetown Jewish Center in Rockland County, NY. Rabbi Olitzky has been a leader and educator for Jewish youth since 2001, working extensively with USY and Camp Ramah, even serving as USY International President while in high school.
Rabbi Olitzky is author of various curricula and articles including Moving Traditions’ The Brotherhood, a curriculum for engaging adolescent males through their Campaign for Jewish Boys initiative and Heads Up! in JTS’ Student Journal Mehkar Ve-Dat: A Journal of Jewish Inquiry. Most recently, he is a contributing author to Peace in Our Cities: Rabbis Against Gun Violence and Jewish Men Pray.
He is a part of the South Orange-Maplewood Interfaith Clergy Association and the Newark Clergy Affairs Committee. Additionally, he is a part of the Maplewood Police Department-Clergy Alliance, working to build a more just community. Rabbi Olitzky is also a part of the Rabbinical Assembly‘s Social Justice Commission, working to bring issues of social justice to the forefront of the Jewish community. Committed to creating warm and welcoming communities and opening the tent of the Jewish community, he is also a Big Tent Judaism Professional Affiliate. During his tenure in Jacksonville, he served as a rabbinic presence on the interfaith clergy advisory council of Hubbard House, Jacksonville’s Domestic Violence shelter, spearheaded efforts to get the Jewish community involved in city-wide social justice work through ICARE (Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation, and Empowerment), and served as a “clergy ally” for JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network).
He is a passionate Baltimore Orioles fan and loves spending time with his family – his wife Andrea and children Cayla Penina, Noah Abraham, and Hannah Faye! He looks forward to meeting you!