Rabbi Tanzer was born in Brooklyn New York, U S A in October 1935. He was educated at the Yeshiva Torah Ve d'as in New York, and at the Telsher Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio. After he received smicha, he continued as a fellow at the Post Graduate Institute Kollel Yad Eliyahu Meir, and was also a graduate at the Kaufman Teaching Institute in Cleveland.
As Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva College of South Africa since 1963, the schools developed under his jurisdiction include: Yeshiva College Boys High School, Yeshiva Leila Bronner Girls High School, Yeshiva Menora Primary School, Yeshiva Menora Primary School and Yeshiva Pre-Grade and I E Goldberg Nursery Schools.
Rabbi Tanzer is the founding Rabbi and spiritual leader of the Glenhazel Area Hebrew Congregation, a community of 750 families catering to the individual needs of many groups of congregants. In the greater community, Rabbi Tanzer has been involved with the following positions:
- President of the South African Rabbinical Association 1988 – 1995
- Vice President of the South African Rabbinical Association 1995 -2007
- Honorary Life Member of the Rabbinical Association – August 2007
- Member of the Gauteng Council of the S A Jewish Board of Deputies since l988 - present
- Member of the Israeli United Appeal/United Communal Fund National Campaign Cabinet 1975 – 1990
- Member of the National Council of the South African Board of Jewish Education 1975 – 2000
- Honorary Vice President of the South African United Mizrachi since 1983 - 2000
- Honorary member of the Hebrew Order of David Lodge Jerusalem since 1967 - date
- Member South African Delegation World Keren Hayesod Conference – Jerusalem 1975 – 1996
- Member South African Delegation (JAFI) Jewish Agency for Israel – Jerusalem 1975 – 1996
- Member South African Delegate to Prime Minister Solidarity Conference for Israel
- Member of Justice Margo Commission on fund raising South African Zionist Federation
- Honorary Officer of the United Communal Fund for South African Jewry 1975 – 1987
- Chaplain to His Worship the Mayor of Johannesburg Counsellor Alan Gadd in 1983
- Chaplain to His Worship the Mayor of Johannesburg Counsellor Eddie Magid – 1984
- Honorary Patron - Jewish National Fund of S A;
- Patron of South African Friends of Sharei Tzedek Hospital.
- Beit Mordechai Kollel Campus – President
- Recipient in 2009 of the Eric Samson-Mendel Kaplan Communal Service Award for outstanding service to Jewish causes in South Africa.
- Featured in the Mishpacha Sukkot magazine in 2009
Rabbi Tanzer is married to Marcia Charrick of Baltimore, U S A. and they are the parents of six children who have made them proud grandparents..