Medical Ethics and The Role of Religion with Gary A. Smith, MD - Conversation with the Rabbi

Episode 12

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Published on:

8th Jul 2021

Medical Ethics and The Role of Religion with Gary A. Smith, MD

Rabbi Michael Beyo and Dr. Adrian McIntyre talk with Dr. Gary Smith about medical ethics, religion, and living together in community with people who have different values.

(Producer's note: This conversation was recorded in November 2020 and discusses Covid-19 vaccine research and other topics in the context of that time.)

Gary A. Smith, MD is Mission President of the California San Jose Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For additional information about Dr. Smith's community and the California San Jose Mission, see "How Missionaries Are Comforting Californians During COVID-19" (March 4, 2021).

Conversation with the Rabbi is a project of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, neighborhood organization that has served individuals and families inclusive of all races, religions, and cultures since 1972. Visit us online at https://www.evjcc.org

The show is recorded and produced in the studio of PHX.fm, the leading independent B2B online radio station and podcast studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more at https://phx.fm

Transcript
Announcer:

From PHX.fm, this is Conversation with the Rabbi, featuring open, honest dialogue and sometimes unconventional perspectives on the world we all share.

Adrian McIntyre:

Welcome back to another Conversation with the Rabbi. Our host of this show is Rabbi Michael Beyo, CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center. We’re joined for the conversation today by Dr. Gary Smith. Welcome Gary.

Dr. Gary Smith:

Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here along with you.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well, we’re glad to have you. Why don’t you start by giving us a little introduction, the way you would if you were at a dinner party or an afternoon barbecue or meeting a group of strangers? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

Dr. Gary Smith:

You bet. Dr. Gary Smith. I am so grateful first and foremost to spend this time with my dear friend Rabbi Beyo. He and I have had a long standing relationship and we are so grateful to have this period to spend together. Yeah, I’m married, I have six children. We have 14 grandchildren. We are so grateful for each one of them. Family’s very important to us. I have the privilege of being a physician. I care for patients, I run a healthcare system, as well as hospitals and clinics. And currently I have the opportunity to serve as a Mission President in the California San Jose Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where I am privileged to work with 265 young missionaries and it is absolutely fabulous

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

President Smith, thank you so much for being with us today. It’s always an honor and a pleasure to be able to do work with you. Every time you speak, it’s like I just want you, I just want to record you speaking because your tone of voice is just so calming. And I think I’m going to just record you and use that to ease falling asleep at night.

Dr. Gary Smith:

No, you’re kind, very, very kind.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

President Smith, as you said we have had a longstanding relationship and we’ve done a number of programs together, and this is not the first time that we are speaking privately or in public. So, thank you for joining this new platform. And we have decided that today we’re going to talk about the interconnection between new medical technologies and faith. And I’m going to just jump right into it. And I want to know your opinion as a physician, as a person of faith, as a leader in your church, what is your position on human cloning?

Dr. Gary Smith:

First and foremost, I appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion. When I consider human suffering first and foremost, rabbi, I really could take a look at two different value systems that I would consider. Of course, one of those is looking through confidence and faith that a person would have in their clinician or their medical provider who would be giving them the care or making recommendations as to how it is that they would be provided medication or any kind of medical service. And so, there’s that portion of a value system, of which it is I believe a person has. The second thing, of course, when we look at human suffering, is that religious faith, where it is that they turn to whatever that spiritual power may look like for them and our religion it would be God, where it is that we look towards that source of hope and faith and how it is that we may be able to come through whatever that suffrage may look like. And so, when you post the question about human cloning, that brings up a very interesting conversation in that, we believe that we are sons and daughters of a loving heavenly Father and prior to coming to this world, that we were spirit children with him, and then we came to this world to receive this physical body by which it is that we would undertake various trials in our personal lives and make choices, decisions on how it is that we would overtake those or how it is that we would develop our faith and knowing how it is that we can really kind of get through this tumultuous times, even as what we’re experiencing today. And so, when we look at cloning, genetically speaking, yes, I know that we can actually create another human being from cellular DNA and actually create a person. However, we truly believe that we are sons and daughters of God and so it comes back to that. That’d be probably my beginning statement towards that.

Adrian McIntyre:

If I could, I have a question for both of you, as the secular anthropologist in the room. You both represent traditions that have a longstanding commitment to what the ancient Greeks would have called, “Care of the self and of others.” There are guidelines laid down in the text that guides your communities for how you should act, how you should eat, what you should avoid, things of that nature. And of course, those texts in the Jewish tradition are thousands of years old, in the tradition that you represent Dr. Smith, they are 150-ish years old. My math is not good, forgive me. And yet they speak to contemporary concerns for people of faith, that you turn to them for guidance on these matters. The kind of broad, general question is, how do you navigate the emergence of very new opportunities and very new technologies and kind of reconcile them with texts that don’t address those specific concerns? Rabbi, let’s hear from you on this, because it’s certainly a vexing question.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Yes.

Adrian McIntyre:

The Torah does not speak about cloning of any kind, let alone laboratories.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Okay. So, the answer is yes and no. Meaning, does the Hebrew Bible speak specifically about modern technology clearly? No. And at the same time, just in this past week Torah portion that was read all over the world, it’s the Torah portion is Toledot, which tells the story of how Jacob left his parents’ house after receiving the blessing from his father, ran away because his brother Esau got upset, maybe wanted to kill him. And so, Jacob runs away, goes to family members, to his uncle where eventually he gets married and he starts working for his father-in-law. He goes into the family business. Well, the family business, they were shepherds. And he goes into a very interesting deal with his father-in-law and they decide that every sheep that would be born with certain markings would belong to Jacob and all the out of sheep without those special markings would belong to his father-in-law. And so, Jacob was very cunning. And so, he figured out, this is according to the text, that if he were to put certain branches of trees in front of these animals when they mated, that he could engineer in a certain way those markings or not. So clearly we’re talking about, it’s religious texts, but if we take it that that actually happened, then wasn’t he doing genetic engineering? Again, it’s a kind, we could say it’s a genetic engineering, it’s a genetic modification in a sense that there was a purpose in order to achieve a specific result using not the modern technologies. So, this is if I were to say, “Oh yes, we can find everything in the Bible and everything that it will ever be discovered is already in the Bible.” but your question is a very good question. And I think that is the role of rabbis and teachers to be honest, we have to be honest and say, “Yes, the Torah does not speak about quantum mechanics.” The Torah doesn’t speak about that. But because the Torah is not a book of science. So, I am not looking at my religious texts to give me guidance specifically on the technical level of science. I am looking at a Torah to give me guidance on the ethics and moral actions on how to apply science. But the Torah is not a history book, it’s not a science book. It’s not even a philosophy book. It’s a book of faith that tells the story of a family that became a nation. And what are the specific messages and laws that we can apply in our lives today from an ethical and moral perspective.

Adrian McIntyre:

President Smith, how does this sit within your tradition?

Dr. Gary Smith:

Very, very similar in that we look at scripture or religious text as a basis of which it is that we do believe that we all come from the same God and that we come here to the family earth with Adam and Eve and its beginnings and that we are all family. We’re all brothers and sisters here upon this earth and that we all are working towards what it is that we’re striving to accomplish and having joy and happiness as we continue to live here upon the earth. When we take a look at the link between, of the scientific nature, of course, being a physician, a scientist of myself and knowing how it is that genetics do work, goodness, I can create a red rose and based upon genetics and have them eventually become white roses so that we can have different colors. Same thing happens when we take a look at hair color or eye color. And so, genetics becomes a significant piece of that. And so, when we look at technology today and how it is that we can have alterations of genetics to formulate, even gender can be formulated at this point in time and we can actually create what it is that we so desire. However, there is a bit at times when it is that we look at the scientific world and we look at the religious world and try to see how it is that, at least how our faith base is to link ourselves together. It gives us an opportunity through my faith to really rely upon my morals and ethics and what becomes my independent culture, if you will. And that is, at times does have a clash with what takes place scientifically. And so in my mind, being one of a physician as well as a clergy leader, have opportunity to listen on both sides. And so, those ethics become quite interesting at times, based upon some religious beliefs versus what it is that we look at medical care that would be received. There are times ethic committees come together to try to determine what’s going to be the best course of action. Of course, then you look at the legal side of things and legalities will dictate others of what the laws of the land may look like. However, we base most of our decisions upon those that are the laws of God and how it is our beliefs and feelings and in a patient or a person’s desires, oftentimes we’ll take precedence over what it is that may be my feelings towards treatment or care, or even religious beliefs may be. And so, there can sometimes be that class just within my own profession.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

President Smith, allow me to dig deeper, a little bit deeper on the issue of cloning and medical technologies and our respective faith. If we have in front of us a situation where we can clone a human being, one of the biggest concerns that some ethicists have is that we are going to, there is the possibility that somebody will take this technology and create an army of Adolf Hitlers. That we’re going to create and manipulator this technology to create maybe basketball players that are very, very tall, or maybe with four arms so they can shoot the ball better, or all kinds of misuse, what I would call the misuse of technology. What would be your answer to that? Do you agree with those fears or you don’t agree with those fears?

Dr. Gary Smith:

No, I do. I agree with this avatar world of which it is that we’re so speaking, and that it is that the creation of, or alteration of what it is could be the usual human being that we are accustomed to. And it does ethically for myself, and of my own values, it does not sit well with having that kind of use of that sort of technology. If it is that it helps us to overcome human suffering, that’s a different story, that’s a different topic than to make a genetic alteration to have a more, a superior human being.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Interesting, because in my own view and I wrote about this in a book that I published years ago, I really, that’s not my fear. My fear is not in the technology, my fear is on humans, meaning technology I find that is like a blank canvas and it’s up to us to paint this canvas. I look for example at the tragedies that happen in Yugoslavia just decades ago, or in Africa, between various competing tribes, did he not use any advanced technology to butcher each other, to kill each other, they use the machete. They use the most barbaric forms of killing without needing supercomputers. But I think that technology has shown that the overwhelming number of humans they want to, and they can, and they do use technology to help the world. And we live in a society that we are surrounded by technology that we could only dream about decades ago or a hundred years ago. So, I personally have faith in the human beings that, if we were to be able to really clone a human being, that we would do it for the proper reasons. Now, if for a couple, a proper reason is that they want their son to be a little bit taller, I don’t think that that is what couples really think when they decide to have a child. They decide to have a child healthy, whether he is going to be a little bit taller, or a little bit shorter, I don’t want to believe that that is what motivates parents.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well, this raises a very interesting and of course, long standing philosophical and theological conundrum which is, when being guided in one’s decisions, right, ethics in the way we’re talking about it here is, choosing the right course of action. There’s of course also personal ethics which is, how should one live one’s life. But here, I think we’re talking more at the level of, what’s the right thing to do at a larger scale, right? What’s the right thing for science? What’s the right thing for society? Is the right thing guided by the action itself or by the implications, the potential consequences of that action? And here’s why I’m asking, President Smith a moment ago said, if it alleviates human suffering it ought to be something we look at differently than if it’s simply for a, you didn’t use these words sir, but baser desire for something better or different or things of that nature. And you might have a more eloquent way to put that. We currently are observing the rapid development of an mRNA based vaccine for Covid-19, a global pandemic which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, over 250,000 in the United States alone, many, many more worldwide. This is the result of the specific application of genetic technology to engineer a compound that will be effective at eliminating this pandemic. That’s the goal, right? And at the same time, that same technology could be used for many other kinds of alterations to the way in which our genetic material reproduces itself. So, are you more concerned about where the line is in terms of what we do or are you more focused on the consequences, the implications, and perhaps the intentions behind what we do? What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Gary Smith:

You’re absolutely correct. When it is, we can go back a little bit further. When it is that we first identified HIV back in the eighties, and we began coming up with medical care in order to alter or change the DNA in order to help a person to overcome or even at this point in time, we’re able to cure a person that may have had HIV that was such a devastation to the entire world. Immunizations oft times do the same thing. That’s exactly what we were speaking about, is that we can give you, whether it is a portion of a dead virus in order to is that it helps you, or it is that it actually comes in to help alter the DNA of that virus, the RNA of that virus so that it doesn’t replicate as it has. We do the same thing with cancer. And so, we’re migrating in an area where it is I think, for the world is a very positive way. Of course, there are those that may have an ill intent and can then utilize that same technology for other reasons or purposes, as Rabbi Beyo had commented earlier, or even towards destruction or injury that may happen to the human race or to whomever it may be, or to whatever it may be, to any living being. And I do believe that is as we use technology for good, I am always very supportive of that. And there are technologies that we have not even identified yet. And so, this whole Corona virus that we’re dealing with today and the technology that’s being developed here, when you start to link that with artificial intelligence and we start now using other technological advances that we have in computer technology and start to link these things together, I believe we will end up having even greater means in which it is that we can care for one another.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Thank you, President Smith. I personally think that technology is impartial and it need depends on the moral society that we as parents, as husbands and wife, and educators, and people of faith, and scientists, and people of all walks of life, what is the kind of society that we together build. But science itself, technology itself, it has no morality. Morality is something that we superimpose on science. There is a lot of talk about, “Oh, are we going to engineer something negative? Or are we going to engineer a child?” Let me ask you, when you met your wife, you did not go into blindly, opened up the telephone book, look through various pages, picked a name and said, “Oh, I’m going to marry her.” No, you did a sort of engineering. You looked for somebody that would be pleasing to your eyes. You looked for somebody that had similar backgrounds or dis-similar backgrounds, somebody that to shared your views or somebody that did not share your views. But you did a genetic engineering of the most primordial kind. And so, if I wanted to really have a chance of having very tall kids, I would’ve maybe looked for a wife that is seven feet tall, instead that was not something important to me so my wife is five feet tall. But again, we all choose in life what we want based upon our morality and ethics and religion and science and whatever, but the technology in itself, I find it’s malleable. And so, hopefully we are able to create just in moral societies that will use all the new technologies to do more good than bad.

Dr. Gary Smith:

I agree with what you’re saying, Rabbi, is that it’s not the technology that becomes, if you will, the evil, it’s the decision of the individual that is actually utilizing that, but that’s been the case all along. We can look at that with guns for example, we can use that to use for various purposes and reasons, but we could also use it for harm. And when we’re using it for good, it falls into my values when we’re using it for good. And I believe that there are great uses that are going to come forward. I do believe that we are really on the cusp of greatness when it comes to technological advances, not just in the scientific world, but also electronics and how it is that we can communicate globally right now via an internet that is unbelievable, that when I was much younger, I can recall computers were the size of this office that I’m in to have then just one small screen. And today we carry a computer in my pocket. And that is even, for many would think is too large and so it will become smaller and faster and much more powerful. And so, I believe that we are really moving in a direction that’s positive for humankind. I do believe that there is great technology, both at science, as well as electronics, that are going to just really bless the lives of people. We look at life expectancy, if you were back in the 1800s, we would live until we’re 45 and today we live well into our nineties. And so, we can see just the medical advances that have taken place, whether it’s medical care, medicines or surgical care and having the opportunity to continue to live life. And I think there’s a lot of value in that.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Thank you for your profound words and teachings. And let me ask you, as a person of faith, as a teacher, as a leader in your community, how do you teach the young generation to use technology in a proper way? How do we teach the youngsters among us to make moral and ethical decisions? How do we teach our generation that, again in my opinion, it’s not okay to deform your body just because the technology allows me to do that.

Dr. Gary Smith:

You’ve touched on a couple of different topics there. The first is, “How do I teach one to make correct choices?” And when we look at just technology alone, I have to teach correct principles of value, of moral, of ethical concerns, in that I would teach a young man that he is to honor and respect women, girls and children. That’s a value that needs to be instilled in their hearts and if it is that use of technology will be in a different way. And I’m just talking about, of course, one small component that’s there. But we have to teach correct principles. Each of us have opportunity to make choice, that’s free agency to make decisions on our own behalf. And there are consequences that come or blessings that come based upon the decision that’s made. And so, that is how it is I look with respect to technology or really just behavior in general, continue to teach them correct principles, so let them govern themselves. That has to be done or there because of those consequences or blessings that come as a result of your choice. When we consider how it is that we then move that a little bit more towards just ethical choices and decisions. I know where my ethics stand. I know where my value system is, and my values are very firm on, God created a man and a woman, and it’s a man and a woman that will procreate and have children. It’s not to say that I looked down upon anyone else who makes other choices or decisions. I love all of our brothers and sisters that walk the earth, regardless of race, color, religion. I have great respect for every one of us and give proper care to each and every one of them. And so, there’s no, I make no separation of between what those decisions or choices may be. There are other consequences that come based upon their personal decisions.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

How do we reconcile, or can we reconcile different ethical and moral positions when we try to live in the same society? If your ethics are in contradiction to mine, or mine are in contradiction to Adrian, how can we live together? Is there a formula that says, “Even though ethically and morally we see the world differently, we are able to live in the same society because...” or not?

Dr. Gary Smith:

Yeah, its communal respect in my opinion. It’s caring for community. It’s caring for one another as human beings and as children of God. And we need to be as... I am as you are, I do not look to defile the body in any way. And there’s many ways that that happens, but it’s something that I personally feel is quite important to me and yet I can live next door to one who does and be a friend and to provide a meal to them, or to invite them to my home to participate in a meal, or to mow their yard or whatever it may be to help to serve whomever it is that we can. And we need to love each and every one of... We need to love one another and we need to respect one another for who we all may be. I do think that common, communal respect is what’s going to be of greatest value. Not the fact that I have to accept everything that you do or believe as being correct, because I have my own value system and another person may have theirs. It’s not as though I won’t... I don’t have to link that portion of it together, but I can respect that wholeheartedly. As a clinician I will tell you, they all get treated equally. It is of no... I don’t even bring that into any consideration, what a religion is or what their decisions may be, I’ll still care for them either way.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Does it mean that at some point, do we have to question our own ethics in order to be able to allow somebody else’s within our sphere, in order to allow them and give them the full respect that they deserve? Because another person could have said, “You know what, no. I am my ethics and whoever transgresses my ethics I don’t want to have anything to do with them.” And there are people out there that do make those choices. But your response was much deeper. And you said, “No, I have my ethics and I may agree or disagree with somebody’s choice, but I will always respect them, respect them as a human being.” So my question is, at a certain level, do you need in order to be able to do what you do to be a little bit humble, maybe a little bit of humbleness and say, “I have to leave a little bit of space within me to allow the other person to come in, in order to serve them in order to be a friend to them in order to not judge them.”?

Dr. Gary Smith:

Yes. Being nonjudgmental and humility are two very deep subjects to discuss. Obviously, humility is that a lack of pride. It’s one in which it is that I will give of myself to others and not worry about my own personal beings, what my personal needs may be. We arrive at a point in our lives where it is that, really my life does not belong to me, but it belongs to other people. And so, that’s that service, that servitude, if you will, that is within each of us that may drive us in a direction. Now, I can’t say that all may feel that way, but I’m not here to judge their inner feelings or even what their belief system may be. I don’t judge that in a positive or a negative way, except for just becoming more accepting of who they may be.

Adrian McIntyre:

Another question from the outsider’s point of view, you both represent communities of faith and spiritual traditions that have been historically in the numerical minority. You have lived within larger societies that follow different principles and have both in different ways faced persecution in those societies. Do your views on tolerance, are they shaped in some way by those experiences of your historical community? In other words, are you now in a position where you’re wanting for others things you haven’t been granted by society? And how does that kind of sit within the mix of what we’re discussing here about dealing with difference?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

I’ll take the first shot at this. First of all, you use a term that I don’t usually use and I don’t usually like, because you use a term, “Tolerance.” And I can tolerate a pimple on my backside, I tolerate it, but I don’t want to tolerate another human being, I want to embrace, I want to accept, I want to learn from another human being. I don’t want to be in a position that I am just tolerating that. Because if I just tolerate, it means that ideally it will not be there. And so, that’s something that I learned over many, many years. I used to be a type of a person that barely tolerates, barely tolerates somebody different than me. And over many, many years I learned that there is so much more to learn from others, especially those who don’t agree with me then from those who do agree with me. So, I’m always in the search for people that are different than me, so that I can have these kinds of conversations and learn from them. So that’s number one, it’s the issue of toleration, for me it’s embracing, it’s acceptance. But to your specific question, I am sure that my, the history of the Jewish people of persecution and being in the minority has influenced and does influence who I am on a daily basis. It’s in my genes, it’s in my DNA. Just by the mere fact that I dress differently, everybody can see that I am a Jew. Anywhere I go in the world it’s easy to say, “Oh, look at him, he’s the Jew.” And sometimes you hear the little voices of, “Oh, look at the Jew.” Or sometimes you hear that, you see the voices, you see the looks that some people give you. And I have to say that, even though in my personal life I evade a lot of anti-Semitic encounters where people try to stab me or hurt me, or even as recently as a few months ago as I was walking home with my kids on a Saturday morning, a car approached us and threw bottles of glass at us. So, I’m used to that and at the same time I have met so many wonderful, amazing people of different faiths or of no faith that have been there for me on a personal level, on a professional level. And it is thanks to them that I have learned that I don’t want to tolerate people, but I that want to embrace people.

Dr. Gary Smith:

I appreciate those thoughts and those are very impactful to me as well. You and I have, we are one another with respect to that. I will share one other thought though, and I do believe that when we do have a conflict or something that’s different than who we are, I actually gained strength as it is that I learned from them as well as, I won’t even call it endure, even though I’ll use that word, endure whatever it may be that it is that maybe coming my direction. Otherwise, my personal beliefs or faith or confidence in others would deteriorate. And so, I truly believe that I need to reach out, to understand the differences that happen and even thought process or behavior that may be happening and have that open mind so that I may learn not only from them, but it also it teaches then me something different as well. And it’s my hope that I would become a better person overall and how it is that I could serve another individual that has a different set of values than what it is that I do, or a belief system than what it is that I would share.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Thank you. I know that we have probably another just a minute or two left, I will like to take this opportunity to ask you, President Smith, now in your current volunteer position, you oversee many hundreds of young men and women in their missionary work. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Dr. Gary Smith:

Yeah. This is absolutely a fantastic experience that we have been having, my wife and I, and we’ve been blessed to have our 15 year old son that has joined along with us on this volunteer service of three years. And we are really looking forward to working with additional young men and women. And these young men and women they come, they spend their time with us from 18 to 24 months to really serve the people here in the California San Jose Mission that is quite expansive, it’s well over 10 million people. And as it is that they revolve and some of them have come to us from many other countries, the Pacific Islands, China, they come to us from Central and South America. They come and serve the people and speaking 17 different languages. And so, we have the privilege to lead this group of young people and to work with other ecclesiastical leaders here locally, as well as ecumenical councils and political leaders. So, many thought leaders is who it is that we spend a lot of time with and to help just humanity to enjoy peace, joy and happiness in their own personal lives. And so, it’s a great opportunity.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

President Smith, thank you very, very much. I promised myself and my wife that we will come to visit you and Tara so that we will continue our friendship and continue this conversation.

Dr. Gary Smith:

Wonderful. Thank you very much for the invitation to be with you today. I truly enjoy the time that we always spend together.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Thank you.

Adrian McIntyre:

If you enjoyed today’s show, please subscribe to Conversation with the Rabbi on your favorite podcast app. You can also find the latest episodes online at ConversationWithTheRabbi.com. For all of us here at PHX.fm, I’m Adrian McIntyre. Thanks for listening, and please join us for the next Conversation with the Rabbi.

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About the Podcast

Conversation with the Rabbi
Rabbi Michael Beyo, CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, talks with an eclectic mix of faith-based and secular leaders from around the world.
In an era of political division and polarized debate, we are losing our ability to hear each other. The volume of our disagreements is at an all-time high, while our ability to communicate with kindness and empathy is at an all-time low. This podcast seeks to change that by engaging people from different backgrounds and beliefs in good old-fashioned conversation.

Listen in as Rabbi Michael Beyo and anthropologist Dr. Adrian McIntyre spend time listening, sharing, and discovering common ground in an effort to understand and appreciate the wondrous diversity of our human family. From interfaith dialogues to discussions with business and nonprofit leaders, this podcast shines a spotlight on the different ways we can learn to live, work, and worship together in a contentious and conflicted world.

We invite you to use these conversations as a lens to open up new understandings of self and the other, to develop empathy for diverse viewpoints, and to explore what is possible when we listen to others with respect.

Conversation with the Rabbi is a project of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, neighborhood organization that has served individuals and families inclusive of all races, religions, and cultures since 1972. Visit us online at https://www.evjcc.org

The show is recorded and produced in the studio of PHX.fm, the leading independent B2B online radio station and podcast studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more at https://phx.fm

About your hosts

Rabbi Michael Beyo

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Rabbi Michael Beyo is CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center in Chandler, Arizona. He was born in Milan, Italy and has lived in Italy, England, France, Israel, and the United States. An Orthodox Jewish scholar with a successful career providing religious guidance to all the Jewish denominations, he was ordained as a rabbi in Israel, where he earned three Rabbinical Ordinations of the highest honor. In 2015 Rabbi Beyo moved to Arizona from Atlanta, where he had served as the Chief Development Officer for Hillel of Georgia, overseeing 12 colleges and universities. Prior to that he served as the Executive Director and Rabbi of Boston University Hillel, as well as the Jewish Chaplain for Boston University. Rabbi Beyo brings over 25 years of professional, entrepreneurial and non-profit experience in education, cultural, humanitarian, social and religious sectors. He successfully ran several start-ups in Israel before dedicating his career to the nonprofit world.

Adrian McIntyre, PhD

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Dr. Adrian McIntyre is a social scientist, storytelling strategist, and internationally recognized authority on effective communication. His on-air experience began in 1978 at the age of five as a co-host of "The Happy Day Express," the longest-running children's radio program in California history. Adrian earned his PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Fulbright scholar and National Science Foundation research fellow. He spent nearly a decade in the Middle East and Africa as a researcher, journalist, and media spokesperson for two of the largest humanitarian relief agencies in the world. Today he advises and trains entrepreneurs, executives, and corporate teams on high-performance communication, the power of storytelling, and how to leverage digital media to build a personal leadership brand.