Talk less, listen more
Rabbi David Spey

Title: Spiritual leader, Temple Bat Yam, Fort Lauderdale, since July.

Other job experience: Former construction assistant for a hospital; former medical research assistant at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx.

Education: Degree in religion with concentration in philology, Wesleyan University, Middleton, Conn.; master's degree in Hebrew letters, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem and New York City.

Personal: Age 43. Born in New York City, raised in Short Hills, N.J.

Family: Married to Dara Tuckfelt-Spey, a psychologist. Two children.

What does a rabbi do in his first year at a synagogue?

You learn. You do little, say less, and figure out what the community needs. You find the strengths and where to build on its foundations.

What do you like about being a rabbi?

I get to to the things I enjoy doing on a daily basis. I talk about Jewish tradition and study the texts, and interact with people. My greatest pleasure is teaching.

Hardest part?

For me, it's being on time. Because I enjoy interacting with people, I never want to cut someone short or push someone out of my office just because I have to be somewhere.

How do you like to relax?

I'm an outdoorsy person. Since coming to South Florida, I've hit the water a lot. I've started scuba diving, and I'm working on my dive master certification.

Favorite pastime?

Goofing around with my family: cooking, eating, movies, throwing a ball around. My wife just scheduled me to coach my daughter's lacrosse team.

What kinds of foods do you like?

Right now I'm exploring Florida cuisine. I just bought plantains. My family has fallen in love with carambolas. And I'm eating a lot of mahi-mahi these days. But my friends are saying that hogfish is the greatest thing in the world.

Favorite TV shows?