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On March 23, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order calling for Oregonians to stay home, closing specific retail businesses, and requiring social distancing in most cases, immediately and until further notice. Social gatherings with people from outside of your household are not allowed until further notice.

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"Ethical Challenges of the COVID Pandemic"

Thursday, May 14 at 4:00pm


Jewish ethicist Paul Root Wolpe will give the Oregon Humanities Center’s 2019–20 Tzedek Lecture, titled “Ethical Challenges of the COVID Pandemic”.

Wolpe will be speaking on emergent ethical issues we have confronted during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Included will be questions about allocating scarce resources; inherent biases of age, class, race, and disability; privacy; ethics of social distancing; and the importance of leadership.

Paul Root Wolpe is the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University, where he is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology. 

Wolpe’s work focuses on the social, religious, ethical, and ideological impact of medicine and technology on the human condition. His teaching and publications range across multiple fields of bioethics and sociology, including death and dying, genetics and eugenics, sexuality and gender, mental health and illness, alternative medicine, and bioethics in extreme environments such as space. He also writes and talks about the Jewish contribution to thinking about the ethical aspects of medicine and technology.

Wolpe, a member of Atlanta’s Congregation Shearith Israel, participates in Scientists in Synagogues—a program that explores interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. He is the son of the late Rabbi Gerald I. Wolpe, one of the great figures in American Jewish life, and brother of Rabbi David Wolpe, the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

Wolpe spent 15 years as Senior Bioethicist for NASA, where he still serves as a bioethical consultant. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience. He is a past President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities; the current President of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors; and served as the first National Bioethics Advisor to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Wolpe’s talk is free and open the public. For disability accommodations (which must be requested by May 7), contact or 541-346-3934.

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