Monday, December 22, 2014 Kislev 30, 5775

Bryan Schwartzman

Freelancer, Former Staff Writer
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Spirits soared — and some dimmed — at election watch parties Tuesday night with the news that President Barack Obama had won a second term. Supporters celebrated a victorious end to a slog of a campaign that had dragged on for 18 long months.
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This time around, remembering the name of your lawmakers in Washington shouldn’t be so hard. Unlike other recent election cycles, the cast of U.S. Senate and House incumbents representing the Philadelphia area remains unchanged.
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In September 1912, Lewis and Matilda Fink were among a group of shop owners in Phoenixville who joined together to found Congregation B’nai Jacob, the oldest synagogue in Chester County. A century later, their 66-year-old grandson will serve as master of ceremonies at a gala dinner celebrating the Conservative synagogue's milestone anniversary.
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More than 550 people came to a Republican Jewish Coalition town hall event at Gratz College Nov. 1 as part of a final GOP push in Pennsylvania.
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While Jewish institutions in the Philadelphia area emerged from the recent storm relatively unscathed, such was not the case in New York and New Jersey, where the total cost of the devastation is still being assessed.
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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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