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Elliot N. Dorff

Elliot N. Dorff is a Conservative rabbi, a professor of Jewish theology at the University of Judaism in California, author, and bio-ethicist. He is currently a visiting professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

He is an expert in the philosophy of Conservative Judaism, Bioethics, and acknowledged within the Conservative community as an expert decisor of Jewish law.

He was ordained as a rabbi from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1970. He earned a Ph.D in philosophy from Columbia University in 1971.


Dorff has written over one hundred articles on Jewish thought, halakha, ethics and bioethics. He has written a number of books, including:

Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader Oxford University Press, 1999

Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics Jewish Publication Society, 1998

Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader Oxford University Press, 1995

Work on Jewish law

Rabbi Dorff is a prolific member of the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, and has written many responsa (opinion papers and legal rulings) on all aspects of Jewish law and philosophy. There is a separate article on Conservative responsa.

In the spring of 1993, Rabbi Dorff served on the ethics committee of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Health Care Task Force, and in March 1997 and May 1999, he testified on behalf on the Jewish tradition on the subjects of human cloning and stem cell research before the president's National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

In Los Angeles, he is a member of the Board of Jewish Family Service and has served as its vice president. He is also a member of the Institutional Review Board of Midway Hospital and the ethics committee at the Jewish Homes for the Aging and UCLA Medical Center. He is co-chairman of the "Priest-Rabbi Dialogue" sponsored by the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

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