Join us as we explore the relationships between Judaism and Medical Bioethics topics, end-of-life issues, and medical aid in dying through presentation and discussion.

May 4/Shabbat – End of Life Stories – During and after Shabbat Services

  • D’Var Torah during Shabbat Services by Rabbi Lynn Liberman, Community Chaplain
  • Post Kiddush Learning (at 12:45 pm): Laurence Savett, MD and Author

May 5/Sunday – Medical Aid in Dying [M.A.I.D.] From 10:00 am – Noon

  • Presentation and moderated discussion featuring
    • Don Postema, Ph.D, Program Director of Medical Ethics at HealthPartners;  and Professor, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences, Bethel University
    • Mike Freiberg, Minnesota State Representative and sponsor of current MAID bill
    • Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor in Philosophy.

May 4 – End of Life Stories

D’Var Torah by Rabbi Liberman, Community Chaplain

Post Kiddush Learning – The Human Side of Medicine: Learning from End-of-Life Stories with Laurence Savett, MD

Schechter Family Sanctuary at 12:45

Dr. Savett is a retired Internist and author of The Human Side of Medicine: Learning What It’s Like to Be a Patient and What It’s Like to Be a Physician.  He will share his experiences on end-of-life discussions between physicians, patients, and their families.

  • Reading material can be found in Chapter 2 of Dr. Savett’s book.
  • Discussion and Q/A will be moderated by Sheldon Berkowitz, MD.

Rabbi Lynn Liberman

Rabbi Lynn Liberman was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1993.  She served as a congregational rabbi for over 20 years.  Currently, Rabbi Liberman is a Board Certified Chaplain working as the Community Chaplain for the Jewish Family Service of St Paul and as an on-call chaplain for Regions Hospital, Gillette Children’s Hospital and MHealth Fairview Hospitals.  Rabbi Liberman has taught and worked in a variety of educational settings, including Jewish Day Schools and as an Adjunct Lecturer in Judaics at Augsburg College, Minneapolis as well as a faculty member for the Melton Adult Learning Program through Hineni.  She also has worked as a Hospice chaplain for seven years including currently as a casual chaplain with Our Lady of Peace Hospice. 

Currently she volunteers as a Police and Fire Chaplain for the Mendota Heights/West St. Paul Police and Fire Departments, Minneapolis State Patrol, is an ARC Spiritual Care Disaster Responder, is on the Metro CISM Team, is on the Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee and is on the Executive Board of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.  Lynn is a certified Advanced Care Planner with Honoring Choices.

Larry Savett

Dr. Savett, one of the founders of Beth Jacob Congregation and its first president, is author of The Human Side of Medicine: Learning What It’s Like to be a Patient and What It’s Like to be a Physician.  He practiced community-based primary care internal medicine for 30 years, first in Gloucester, Massachusetts and then in St. Paul, Minnesota.  For over three decades, he has taught about the biological, psychological and social dimensions of illness and the doctor-patient relationship in a course titled the same as his book, first at Macalester College and later at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, where he advised pre-medical and other pre-health professions students. Currently he is an advisor to post-baccalaureate students interested in medicine or a related career at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN.

He has served on the Admissions Committee of the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he taught medical students, interns and residents and was Clinical Professor of Medicine.  He has been a frequent contributor to The Advisor, the journal of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP).  For many years he has been part of a cadre of NAAHP members who volunteer to counsel undergraduates and alumni pre-meds who do not have access to adequate advising at their home institutions.  In addition, through NAAHP and its central region (CAAHP), he has served as a mentor to new advisors.

May 5 – Medical Aid in Dying

Guest Speaker Rabbi Elliot Dorff,  Rector and Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy at the American Jewish University

  • Rabbi Dorff is an expert in the philosophy of Conservative Judaism, bioethics, and acknowledged within the Conservative community as an expert decisor of Jewish law. His talk will cover Jewish perspectives on MAID and why he changed his opinion over time.

Guest Speaker Dr. Don Postema

  • Postema is Program Director of Medical Bioethics for the HealthPartners organization. His talk will cover the secular bioethics of MAID.

Guest Speaker MN Representative Mike Freiberg

  • Rep Freiberg is the author of End of Life Option Act bill introduced in the Minnesota legislature. He will talk about the proposed Minnesota legislation, the current status of the legislation, and how it compares with other states.


Light Refreshments

Elliot Dorff, Rabbi, Ph.D.

Elliot Dorff, Rabbi, Ph.D., is the Rector and Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy at the American Jewish University.  He brings over five decades of experience to his roles. He has taught at American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) since 1971, directing its rabbinic program between 1971-1994, serving as Chief Academic Officer between 1980 and 1985, and as Rector since 1994.  As a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law from 1974 to 2020, he imparted his knowledge of Jewish law to law students there. He has written 15 books and edited or co-edited 14 more on Jewish thought, law, and ethics as well as over 200 articles on those topics.  Recognized for his scholarly contributions, Rabbi Dorff has received the Journal of Law and Religion’s Lifetime Achievement Award and holds four honorary doctoral degrees, complementing his rabbinic ordination by the Jewish Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. Within the Conservative Movement, he has chaired the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he has written 29 rabbinic rulings, and he made significant contributions to the new Torah commentary, Etz Hayim. He has also chaired four scholarly organizations.  Beyond work in the Jewish community, Rabbi Dorff’s leadership is evident in his chairmanship of several interfaith organizations and his involvement in critical bioethical initiatives for the U.S. and California governments and several educational and scientific organizations. Locally, he actively engages with Jewish Family Service, where he served as President, as well as the Ethics Committee at UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Don Postema

Combining his lifelong interests in higher education and clinical ethics, Dr. Don Postema is currently Program Director of Medical Bioethics for HealthPartners, working with the hospitals and caregivers within the organization and chairing the HealthPartners Ethics Committee.  His responsibilities include providing ethics consults, ethics education, and policy review.  His graduate work in philosophy was at Columbia University, and he has been a Visiting Scholar at the Hastings Center, the University of Washington, the Minnesota Center for Health Care Ethics, and the University of Minnesota.  He is also the Ethicist-in-Residence at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.  As a clinical ethicist, he is devoted to aiding healthcare professionals practice with personal and professional integrity, and to supporting patients and their families as they integrate their values with their healthcare.  In his parallel career in academia, Dr. Postema taught philosophy, ethics, bioethics, philosophy of art, and film studies at Bethel University where he is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy.  He is an Affiliate Faculty member at the Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota.

Mike Freiberg

Mike Freiberg is a Minnesota State Representative serving his sixth term, representing the cities of Crystal, Golden Valley, Plymouth, and Robbinsdale. During the 2023-2024 session, he serves as Chair of the Elections Finance and Policy Committee. He previously chaired the Preventive Health Policy Division and the Government Operations Committee. Mike has authored many pieces of legislation, including the End of Life Option Act. When he is not serving as State Representative, he works as an attorney for a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health. He lives in Golden Valley with his wife and two children.

Program Materials

The Human Side of Medicine: Learning: What It’s Like to Be a Patient and What It’s Like to Be a Physician, by Dr. Laurence Savett.

OFFERING HOPE: MESSAGES AND LESSONS FROM PATIENTS AND FAMILIES. Some thoughts for family, friends and professionals about considerate inquiry and providing comfort.  Laurence A. Savett, MD

Articles that may be of interest: 

  1. “The Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying” (2019). A good overview of the arguments from two perspectives.
  2. “Responding to Patients Requesting Physician-Assisted Death – Physician Involvement at the Very End of Life” (2016). This and the following article were short Pro-Con articles from JAMA. Tim Quill, MD has long been an advocate for PAD.
  3. Why Physicians Should Oppose Assisted Suicide” (2016).
  4. Time to Re-Think Assisted Dying” (2024). An editorial from Bioethics sketching out where this issue may be headed, written from a Canadian perspective. Their legal MAiD practices now include both physician assisted suicide and euthanasia.  The Minnesota bill would only legalize the former.
  5. Ethics and Society: Physician Assisted Suicide and White ethnocentrism” (2021). A perspective that is important to consider in our current situation.

Film: “The Last Flight Home”, a 2022 documentary by Ondi Timoner that captures her family’s journey that includes her sister, Rabbi Rachel Timoner, after their father Eli makes the decision to exercise California’s End of Life Option Act for the terminally ill.

Rabbi Dorff:

Assisted Suicide 1703225420_206.pdf (

Statement on Assisted Suicide 1703225420_207.pdf (

Assisted Suicide/Aid in Dying Reconsidered: “God’s Compassion Embraces All God’s Creations” (Psalms 145:9) Assisted Suicide Revisited final.pdf (

Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics, by Rabbi Elliot Dorff.

Minnesota End of Life Options Act Bill

Article describing the debate around this proposal 1/24

Star Tribune article. 4/12/24

Medical Directives Resources

Rabbinical Assembly Jewish Medical Directives for Health Care  medical directives.pdf (

Honoring Choices Health Care Directives Health Care Directives – Honoring Choices

Healthcare with Jewish Wisdom – Ematai