Wednesday, December 4 at 7:30pm
Jeff Levin, University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Baylor University
David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Moderator: Deborah Carr, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University
Douglass Student Center
100 George Street, New Brunswick
Supported in part by the Sagner Family Foundation
Cosponsored by The Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers
and Rutgers GAIA Centers’ 2013-2015 Biennial Theme: Global Health!

Religion and spirituality are important aspects of mental health, wellness and physical health. This panel will explore the interplay between spirituality and health from Jewish and medical perspectives.


Dr. Jeff Levin, an epidemiologist and religious scholar, holds a distinguished chair at Baylor University, where he is University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, and Director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at the Institute for Studies of Religion. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Levin’s work at the interface of religion, science, and medicine has been instrumental in broadening the perspectives of researchers and clinicians on the connections among body, mind, and spirit. He is author or editor of over 185 scholarly publications, including eight books, with three more in progress. His latest books are Healing to All Their Flesh: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Spirituality, Theology, and Health (Templeton, 2012) and Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources (Jewish Lights, 2013).


Dr. David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, is internationally recognized for his publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981 and was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1977. He is a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem and a Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ellenson's extensive publications include Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy, Halakhah and the Boundaries of Modern Jewish History (1989), Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy (1990) (nominated for the National Jewish Book Council's award for outstanding book in Jewish History, 1990), Between Tradition and Culture: The Dialectics of Jewish Religion and Identity in the Modern World (1994), After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity (2004), which won the National Jewish Book Council's Award as the outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005, and Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in 19th- and 20th-Century Orthodox Responsa, co-authored with Daniel Gordis (2012).

Dr. Ellenson has been named Chancellor upon his retirement from the position of President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, effective January 1, 2014.

Deborah Carr

Deborah Carr is professor and chair in the sociology department at Rutgers University, and a faculty member at the UniversityInstitute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. She previously held faculty positions at the University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin. Dr. Carr received her B.A. in Sociology from Connecticut College (1988) and her M.S. and PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997).  She is author or editor of six books, including Spousal Bereavement in Later Life (Springer, 2006); the Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development (Cengage, 2009) and Worried Sick: Why Stress Hurts Us and What to Do About It (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming). She is also author more than 60 journal articles on health, aging, and end of life issues; this work has appeared in journals including Journals of Gerontology: Social Science, and Journal of Health & Social Behavior. Dr. Carr is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and Society of Behavioral Medicine. She is Chair of the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey (GSS) and is an investigator on several major surveys of aging and adulthood, including Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) and Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS).