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'Death and Dying' series continues with lecture on Jewish bioethics

September 8, 2016
Elliot Dorff, rector and Sol & Ann Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy at American Jewish University

Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and Sol & Ann Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy at American Jewish University

The Comparison Project at Drake University resumes its two-year series on Death and Dying with a lecture on Jewish bioethics by Rabbi Elliott Dorff, distinguished service professor and rector of American Jewish University and visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law.

Dorff will deliver his free lecture, “’A Time to Be Born, and a Time to Die’ (Ecclesiastes 3:2): A Jewish View of the Modern Medical Complexities of Dying,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in the Olmsted Center’s Sussman Theater, 2875 University Ave., on the Drake campus.

Dorff will discuss how the medical and social features of contemporary societies make treating the dying much more morally fraught than it was in the past. Given these changes, he will explore what the Jewish tradition can advise us on how to treat the dying not simply as patients, but as people worthy of respect.

Dorff has published twelve books, co-written another twelve, and authored over 200 research articles that focus on Jewish ethics, philosophy, laws and customs, and bioethics. He has served on three federal commission for the State of California. He is the author of Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics. On topics such as human sexuality, poverty, and Jewish ethics, Dorff has become a leading voice in the Conservative movement.

The Comparison Project enacts global philosophy of religion in the local Des Moines community. It is supported by the Drake University Center for the Humanities, Humanities Iowa, the Medbury Fund, the Drake University Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship, the Des Moines Area Religious Council, Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, the Slay Fund, and The Comparison Project's special series sponsor for its programming on death and dying, Iles Funeral Homes.

Future events in The Comparison Project's Death and Dying series include:

  • Thursday, Oct. 6: "The Journey from the Living to the Living Dead in African Religions." Herbert Moyo, director of the practical theology programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Sussman Theater.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: Community Interfaith Dialogue at Iles Funeral Homes' Dunn's Chapel. Moderated by Norma Hirsch, assistant professor of osteopathic medicine at Des Moines University. Panelists from the Bhutanese Hindu, Bosnian Muslim, and Congolese Christian communities.
  • Thursday, Nov. 17: "Prayers to the Dead and Dying: A Trivium of Sorts to a 'Santa Muerte' Book of Hours." Eduardo Garcia Villada, associate professor of second language acquisition, Drake University. Sussman Theater.
  • Thursday, Dec. 8. Community Interfaith Dialogue at Iles Funeral Homes' Dunn's Chapel. Moderated by Norma Hirsch, assistant professor of osteopathic medicine at Des Moines University. Panelists from the Vietnamese Buddhist, African Muslim, and Serbian Christian communities.

More information is available at comparisonproject.wordpress.edu.