Corporate CEO, Philanthropist, Torah Scholar and Touro Chairman to Serve as Keynote Speaker at Commencement for Touro University’s Lander Colleges
Zvi Ryzman will receive an honorary degree and serve as commencement speaker for Touro University’s Lander Colleges. The graduation will be held on June 4 at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.
Ryzman joined the board of Touro University 20 years ago and has served as Chairman of Touro since 2020, supporting the vision of Touro Founder Dr. Bernard Lander and the university’s growth and expansion under current President, Dr. Alan Kadish. He is passionate about promoting the value of higher education, both as a means of earning a livelihood and becoming citizens of the world.
Ryzman is also president and CEO of American International Industries, one of the largest manufacturers and importers of cosmetics and beauty products in the world. His company sells wholesale to beauty suppliers and retailers in the U.S. and around the world.
Winner of the Jerusalem Prize for Torah Literature, Ryzman is the author of numerous Hebrew seforim and English language Jewish titles, including a series called Exploring Modern Halachic Dilemmas and one entitled The Wisdom in the Hebrew Months, both published by Artscroll. One of his seminal works is an in-depth exploration of the halachos pertaining to fertility treatments and organ transplantation. This and a myriad of other topics are at the core of Ratz KaTzvi, a 21-volume series on Jewish law and thought.
“A role model for integrating a life of Torah study and stellar achievements in the business world, Zvi Ryzman is a true Renaissance man,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, Touro President.
A highly successful businessman and noted philanthropist, Ryzman spends much of his time studying and teaching Torah to audiences all over the world.
Success Begins at Home
Ryzman spent his early years in Europe and moved to Israel as a school-age child, growing up in Tel Aviv. He studied in the famed Chevron Yeshiva and also served in the Israel Defense Forces. Ryzman earned a degree in political science and economics at Tel Aviv University, as well as rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna of the Chevron Yeshiva.
He says he owes his success to his father, Rav Yehoshua Heshel Ryzman, who exemplified the values Ryzman has adopted throughout his life and career. Ryzman’s father learned in various Yeshivos in Poland, ultimately becoming a long-standing Talmid in the Chabad Lubavitch Yeshiva in Otzvozk. He was subsequently appointed Rosh Yeshiva at the Yeshiva’s branch in Warsaw.
After suffering the brutality of the Nazis in labor and concentration camps, he ultimately arrived in Israel, pursued a secular education at Tel Aviv University and entered the business world, buying a flour mill that the family still owns and operates today.
“My father never stopped teaching Torah while pursuing knowledge and earning a living. That was his legacy to me,” says Ryzman. “I learned from him that if you want to stay grounded in Torah, you need to give a shiur and teach others so you yourself can learn in depth. I never call myself a rabbi, I am an ish asakim, a businessman who learns and teaches Torah every day. The Torah teaches everything, including the right way to conduct business. My Torah study has sharpened my mind and contributed to my ability to think strategically in business.”
Advice for Today’s Graduates
Ryzman believes the key to success in both life and business is to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. “When you’re learning Torah, your mind shouldn’t be racing and thinking about your to-do list at work and when you’re involved in business, concentrate on what’s in front of you. People who accomplish a lot have a plan, so be sure to design a plan for what you want to do each day. You don’t have to give up on Torah or business success, just plan when you are going to focus on each. If you need to start working at 5 am, then plan to learn at 4 a.m. and stick to it. I recommend learning something in depth that really speaks to you so you recapture the joy of learning that you had in yeshiva, and sustain it as you move into professional life,” explains Ryzman.
“When it comes to succeeding in the business world, slow and steady is the way to build. Learn everything you can about the space you’re working in, conduct as much research as possible and don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do menial tasks. Respect everyone in the organization. I don’t call people employees, everyone in my company is a colleague because I have something to learn from each of them,” shares Ryzman.
Ryzman urges today’s young people to remember their past and their roots. “Take your values and your parents’ teachings with you as you enter the professional world and you’ll succeed in the present and into the future.”