Elliot Dorff

Elliot Dorff, Rabbi, Ph.D., Advisor

Rabbi Elliot DorffElliot Dorff, Rabbi, Ph.D. is Rector and Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University and Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law. He received the Journal of Law and Religion’s Lifetime Achievement Award and holds four honorary doctoral degrees. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University (1971) and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary (1970).

Rabbi Dorff has chaired four scholarly organizations: the Academy of Jewish Philosophy, the Jewish Law Association, the Society of Jewish Ethics, and the Academy of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. He was elected honorary president of the Jewish Law Association for the term of 2012-2016. He currently chairs Conservative Judaism’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. He also serves as co-chair of the Priest-Rabbi Dialogue of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

In Spring 1993, Rabbi Dorff served on the Ethics Committee of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Health Care Task Force. From 2000 to 2002 he served on the National Human Resources Protections Advisory Commission, charged with reviewing and revising the federal guidelines for protecting human subjects in research projects. He is also a member of an advisory committee for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on the social, ethical, and religious implications of their exhibits.

Rabbi Dorff is secretary of the board of the FaithTrust Institute, a national organization that produces seminars and educational materials to help people avoid or extricate themselves from domestic violence. In Los Angeles, he is a board member and past president of Jewish Family Services and a member of the ethics committee at UCLA Medical Center. For eight years he was a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles, chairing its committee on serving the vulnerable.

At 67, he entered a dance contest for charity, Dancing with the Rabbis. He and his wife, Marlynn, have four children and seven grandchildren who he thinks are more important than everything listed above!

Select Publications

  • Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics (Jewish Publication Society, 1998). Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought.
  • To Do the Right and the Good: A Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethics (Jewish Publication Society, 2002). Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in Contemporary Jewish Life for 2002.
  • Love Your Neighbor and Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics (Jewish Publication Society, 2003).
  • The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) (2005), Jewish Lights Publishing. National Jewish Book Award finalist.