Friday, December 26, 2014 Tevet 4, 5775

Bryan Schwartzman

Freelancer, Former Staff Writer
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It's an age-old question: What does practicing religion have to do with being a good, ethical person? While working to formulate his own personal theology as a seminary student in the 1970s, Rabbi Ira F. Stone himself struggled with the notion of whether observing Judaism's commandments in itself leads to ethical behavior. "The Judaism I encountered up until that point...
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Many American Jews assume that it's impossible to learn all that much about their family histories, since so many vital genealogical records were destroyed in the Holocaust. Yet according to Mark Halpern, president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia, a surprising amount of material -- including birth and marriage certificates -- did survive. Much is accessible, especially in...
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While it's widely accepted that the midterm elections were largely a referendum on the war in Iraq, it's far from clear what impact the new Democratic-lead Congress will have on policy in the Middle East. Joe Sestak (D-District 7) -- recruited to run for office based on his national-security credentials -- is among newly elected lawmakers who want Congress to...
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Toward the end of his life, Benjamin Franklin was once asked what exactly the framers of the Constitution had given to their new nation. His answer: "A republic, if you can keep it." According to nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, the United States and its military gave the Iraqi people the framework for a democratic republic. Yet it looks as...
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Democrats did not enjoy the same kind of stunning victory in Harrisburg that their fellow party members had on Capitol Hill, but they did make substantial gains and may still have a chance of claiming a narrow majority in one chamber. All told, the Democrats shaved down what had been a 109 to 94 GOP advantage to what will either...
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Profile

Bryan Schwartzman has been reporting on the Jewish community of Philadelphia since 2003. After 10 years as a staff writer, he now occasionally freelances for the Exponent. He writes about trends in politics, religion and spirituality, philanthropy and sometimes dabbles in sports and the arts. 
 
He has received numerous awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Jewish American Press Association and other organizations.
 
A native New Yorker, he earned a master’s degree in modern Jewish history and literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is also a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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