Ben Schwartz

Ben Schwartz
Graduation Year

"Throughout my academic career, I have been dedicated to exploring the intersection between religion and modernity, and in particular, to seeking ways to enact pragmatic social reform within religious communities. In this paper, I researched Orthodox Judaism and its perspectives on queer issues, proposed potential solutions to LGBTQ+ discrimination within Orthodox communities, and highlighted my research approach's potential applicability to other social justice issues. Despite Orthodox Judaism's historical and current reluctance to embrace the LGBTQ+ community, I believe that rationales for equality already exist within the religion's framework: they simply need to be explored further.

I intend on continuing my research on the troubled relationship between Orthodox Judaism and the LGBTQ+ community, focusing specifically on how advances in modern medicine could facilitate the implementation of social reform within Orthodox circles. Over the next year, I will finish writing my honors thesis on this topic, and intend to pursue post-graduate research opportunities that would allow me to delve more deeply into the interplay between social change and religion." - Ben Schwartz, 2017

Ben is a Double Major in Religious Studies and Biology with a Minor in Jewish Studies, Class of 2018. He received the following awards in Jewish Studies:

  • Donald and Robin Kennedy Undergraduate Award in 2017 for “Beyond the Corporeal: Orthodox Judaism and the LGBTQ+ Community” written for Prof. Selby Schwartz's class.

  • The Dr. Bernard Kaufman Undergraduate Research Award in Jewish Studies in 2017 for his proposal on "LGBTQ+ Reform in Orthodox Judaism." 

  • Nelee Langmuir Award (in the study of modern European History, with an emphasis on the holocaust) in 2017 for "Chess Camp" written for Prof. Vered Shemtov's class.