Visiting Professor of Law
A.B., Columbia College, 1965, summa cum laude
M.A. (1968), Rabbi (1970), Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1971
Elliot Dorff is a Visiting Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism). At UCLA he teaches a course in Jewish Law. At the Jewish Theological Seminary he was part of an intensive program in Talmud, and he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1971 with a dissertation in moral theory. Since then he has directed the rabbinical and master's degree programs at the American Jewish University, where he currently is Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.
Rabbi Dorff is Chair of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and a contributor to the new Torah commentary for the Conservative Movement. His papers have formulated the validated stance of the Conservative Movement on infertility treatments and on end-of-life issues, and his Rabbinic Letters on human sexuality and on poverty have become the voice of the Conservative Movement on those topics. He has chaired four scholarly organizations: the Academy of Jewish Philosophy, the Jewish Law Association, the Academy of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies, and the Society of Jewish Ethics. He has served on the Carnegie Foundation’s Project on Professional Education. He has also served on three federal government commissions -- on health care, sexual ethics, and protections of human subjects in research projects -- and he currently serves on the State of California's Ethics Committee charged with formulating moral guidelines for stem cell research in the state.
Rabbi Dorff holds several honorary doctrates, including Doctor of Hebrew Letters, honoris causa, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1996; Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Hebrew Union College, 2003; Doctor of Hebrew Literature, honoris causa, Gratz College, 2004; and, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, American Jewish University, 2011.
Rabbi Dorff has published over 200 articles on Jewish thought, law, and ethics. He has also written 12 books and edited or co-edited 14 more. His books on Jewish law include: A Living Tree: The Roots and Growth of Jewish Law (with Arthur Rosett); The Unfolding Tradition: Philosophies of Jewish Law (2005; second edition, 2011); and For the Love of God and People: A Philosophy of Jewish Law (2007). In addition he has written about 20 rabbinic rulings for the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards on such subjects as "Donations of Ill-Gotten Gain" and "Violent and Defamatory Video Games" as well as many topics in medical ethics. He combines a distinguished scholarly background and practical experience with excellent teaching.