A series of five interfaith programs, Exploring Questions of Life and Death, will begin this month at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.

The programs, free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning, a partnership of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.

The Jay Phillips Center, in its historic role as a forum for frank interfaith dialogue, will bring together for this series prominent Jewish and Christian thinkers who will examine issues ranging from health-care allocation to care at the end of life.

The series’ first program, The Ethics of Health, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the St. Thomas campus. The program will be held again at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Alumnae Hall, Haehn Campus Center, on the St. Benedict campus.

Speaking and leading the discussions will be David H. Smith of the Poynter Center, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., and Elliot N. Dorff of the University of Judaism, Los Angeles.

The program will examine such questions as: What do we mean by health? What practices do our faiths espouse to achieve good health? What are our obligations for health maintenance? What are the theological foundations of those obligations? What are the public-policy implications of our respective faiths on questions of health and well being?

The other four programs in the series are: The Ethics of Healing, Oct. 18 and 19; The Ethics of Dying and Death, April 10 and 11, 2000; The Rites of Dying and Death, May 1 and 2, 2000; and Religious Faith and Public Health Policy, Nov. 2 and 3, 2000.

For more information about the series, call the center at (651) 962-5788. Information also is available on the center’s Web site: http://department.stthomas.edu/jclc/.