It has become a cherished tradition at Congregtion Emanu El in Houston, TX to hear guest divrei torah from members of the community during this Shabbat Shuvah, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year, their guest was Dr. Peter Jay Hotez.

Dr. Hotez is the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology, and Microbiology at the Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the co-director for the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development. Dr. Hotez also holds an endowed chair of tropical pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as numerous other academic and research positions at Baylor, at Texas A&M, and at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice. With his extensive professional scientific background in tropical disease, Dr. Hotez has been a prolific contributor to the field of vaccine development, and has worked to provide global access to these lifesaving tools, which combat the diseases affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been defending vaccines and serving as an ardent champion of their role in fighting and preventing disease.

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(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. This talk was adapted from a guest D’var Torah at Congregation Emanu El in Houston, TX on September 10, 2021).