Tis the graduation season, but unlike most 17-year-olds wrapping up their high school careers in recent days and weeks, Daniel Schwartz knows exactly what he wants to do with his life.
“I want to go to law and business school and receive a JD and an MBA,” the recent graduate of Shalhevet High School said. “I want to go into medical devices and then get into politics later in life. Whatever field you go into, you should do something meaningful with it.”
Schwartz has had no problem following that mantra so far, whether it’s been as co-captain of the varsity baseball team or chair of the Agenda Committee (school president).
He has honed his intellectual skills by taking part in Model UN and being captain of the debate team. A Model Congress participant as well, earlier this year he became the first Modern Orthodox Jew to be elected president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Model Congress.
Schwartz said he would like to go into law and politics because he’s always been interested in debate.
“My parents said that when I was young, I would argue with them a lot, and I still do,” he said. “I like thought process and analyzing things as opposed to education that’s strictly memorization. I love coming up with new, innovative ideas.”
One area in which this attitude has come into play is the study of Talmud. Noam Weissman, principal of Judaic studies at Shalhevet and Talmud teacher, characterized Schwartz as a talmudic scholar.
He also said that Schwartz is “the type of leader that gets his peers involved in the right thing. He does an admirable job of leading people to get into studying Torah and getting them to be more passionate about Judaism. He’s not just a religious Jew, and he’s not just a thoughtful Jew. He’s a thoughtful religious Jew. That’s a special thing to see. We don’t see that often enough.”
Schwartz, who attends Beth Jacob Synagogue with his family, describes himself as a Modern Orthodox Jew and a Zionist. In ninth grade, he volunteered for Etta Israel Center, where he worked with young adults with special needs, and this fall, he will attend Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi in Israel to further his Jewish education.
“I love to learn, and I love doing Talmud,” he said. “[I wanted] to devote a year of my life to it.”
He added, “I love the State of Israel and I’ve always wanted to live there for at least some portion of my life. I think it’s important to contribute to the land if you’re a Zionist.”
For his sophomore, junior and senior years of college, he plans to study at Yeshiva University in New York, majoring in business. He chose Yeshiva so he would be able to learn more Talmud and live an Orthodox life.
“You’re still in New York City, and you can have a lot of fun in the secular world, but you can also belong to your own Jewish community,” he said.
After he graduates from Yeshiva, Schwartz wants to either pursue law, politics, or get into the medical device industry because they are professions he can use to better the planet.
“Medical devices have always intrigued me,” he said. “Not only are you making money, but you’re saving lives in the country and the world that you live in.”
It’s Schwartz’s personal belief that everybody should try and make the world a better place, which is why he wants to do that through his career: “I think it’s important for people to contribute to society on whatever level they can.”
For more profiles of outstanding local graduates, go to jewishjournal.com/graduation.