Ezekiel Emanuel talks community service, education
Emanuel, the Penn Integrates Knowledge professor, spoke at Hillel Wednesday
February 2, 2012, 12:44 am · Updated February 3, 2012, 1:01 am·
Maanvi Singh | DP
Compared to his brother Rahm, Ezekiel Emanuel flies under the radar in the eyes of much of the American public, but this well-established bioethicist has a track record of his own.
Emanuel, who was introduced last semester as Penn’s 13th Penn Integrates Knowledge professor and vice provost for global initiatives, spoke to an audience at Hillel Wednesday on his educational and Jewish background, as well as his work on the Affordable Care Act, 2010’s landmark health care reform legislation.
“Don’t rush,” he advised, critiquing many students’ pre-professional approach to school. “You have a very long life. Take some time off. Go do good deeds somewhere. Whatever you’re doing you’re going to be in for 40 years. Take some time now.”
Repair the World, a national organization dedicated to incorporating community service into Jewish life, partnered with Penn Hillel to bring Emanuel to the event.
This semester, Emanuel is teaching a bioethics course on the health care bill he helped construct and hopes to increase the profile of Penn’s Center for Bioethics and possibly create a bioethics minor.
“Almost all of my research is to prove what people think is right, is wrong,” he said. “Your job is to challenge the world.”
Some students involved with Repair the World or other service activities on campus also received an invitation for a dinner with Emanuel directly before the public event.
Participants discussed several relevant Jewish religious commentaries and their relation to modern medicine.
“He brought in a lot of examples for modern Americans. I really like how practical he is,” said College freshman Gabriella Meltzer, who attended the dinner.
About 120 people showed up to hear Emanuel speak. Students praised his outlook on their college and professional choices, but some were disappointed in how little he connected Jewish values to health care at the public event.
“I wanted to hear more about his Jewish connection with his career,” College sophomore Ali Block said. “That’s actually why I came, and I don’t think I got that.”
After the event, a handful of student and community groups stuck around encouraging attendees to participate in their service activities.
Repair the World plans to make the lecture an annual event.
This article has been updated from a prior version to clarify that Ezekiel Emanuel is not just this year’s Penn Integrates Knowledge professor, but one of thirteen PIK professors introduced at Penn since 2005. Emanuel was introduced as a PIK professor last semester.