Journalism and COVID-19: Remembering Bertram Korn

This journalist profile is part of Journalism and COVID-19: The Toll of a Pandemic, PEN America’s project covering the toll of the coronavirus crisis on the journalism industry in the United States. Our hearts go out to the family members and friends of the journalists lost during the pandemic.

Name: Bertram “Benyamin Buddy” Korn
Age: 64
Died: July 5, 2020
Location: Elkins Park, PA
Work History:1Sophie Panzer, “Buddy Korn, Former Exponent Editor, Has Died at 64Jewish Exponent, July 14, 2020.

  • Founder, Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin
  • Founding Chairman, Philadelphia Religious Zionists
  • Founder, Philadelphia chapter of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis
  • Executive Editor, Jewish Exponent
  • Executive Editor, The Miami Jewish Tribune

Selected Remembrances:
“Buddy taught many of us that Jewish journalism was a cause and a calling — and challenged us to make it something to be proud of. He combined this belief with a childlike tendency to dream big, with no worry about limitations or failures. And if you were willing to take the leap with him, he would return the favor with friendship, mentorship and an uncompromising belief in your ability to soar.”
—Ami Eden, CEO and Executive Editor, 70 Faces Media [Jewish Exponent]

“He was a real professional, very good to work for. He was a very good editor in terms of letting reporters do their thing. He wasn’t heavy-handed.”
—Steve Feldman, Executive Director, Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America [Jewish Exponent]

“He was the kind of person who didn’t just open his wallet to people or his doors to people. He also opened his heart to people completely.”
—Avichai Korn, son of Bertram Korn [Jewish Exponent]

“If someone wasn’t part of his specific community, he saw it as more of a reason to develop a relationship with them and find common ground.”
—Emanuel Korn, son of Bertram Korn [Jewish Exponent]

“I was amazed at the depth of the conversations. He had this way of making you comfortable. He took time to get to know you.”
—Nava Korn, wife of Bertram Korn [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

“He was the kind of guy who pulled no punches. He was not shy to criticize either something he read in the paper or something I wrote. He was a person who passionately advocated on behalf of the Jewish state and the Jewish community, and he was deserving of a lot of respect.”
—Joshua Runyan, former editor-in-chief, Jewish Exponent [Jewish Exponent]

“The death Sunday of Benyamin Korn, erstwhile editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, takes from the Sun’s camarilla a shrewd, and, in our opinion, exceptionally wise journalist — just when America most needs such sages. His life traced a classic American arc, from radical leftism to principled conservatism to orthodox religion. He was a reader and encourager of the Sun from the beginning, and we cherished his friendship.”
The New York Sun Staff [The New York Sun]

Selected Work:
Few Notice, as U.S. Strikes on ISIS Kill 459 CiviliansWhere What When Magazine, August 5, 2015.

“Four hundred and fifty-nine innocent civilians have been killed by U.S.-led air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq over the past year, according to a new report. It will be interesting to see how the international community reacts.”

N.Y. teens teach a lesson in helping terror victims” (co-authored with Moshe Phillips), Heritage Florida Jewish News, December 19, 2014.

“They don’t have plush offices or secretaries or gala dinners, but a group of 15-year-olds on Long Island are providing an inspiring model of leadership for the rest of the American Jewish community.”

For Netanyahu, a Narrower VictoryThe Algemeiner, January 23, 2013.

“Benyamin Netanyahu will again be prime minister, but with a much-weakened political base after yesterday’s national election. His Likud Party, allied with the mainly Russian immigrant party of Avigdor Liberman, lost one-third of its Knesset seats, due in part to Liberman’s being under the shadow of indictment on rather thin charges by a politicized Attorney-General.”

Jews becoming commonplace in conservative ‘new media’Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 4, 2011.

“Many reviews already have appeared of ‘The Undefeated,’ the soon-to-be-released documentary about Sarah Palin’s tenure in Alaska. Yet none of them — even in The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post or — mentions that nearly all of the film’s many pro-Palin media talking heads are Jews.”

Sarah Palin Celebrates Shabbat And Offers Echoes of EstherThe New York Sun, August 30, 2010.

“Driving to Lancaster from Philadelphia Friday afternoon, my wife and I passed through a town named Ephrata. It was named after the town that, in ancient times, was part of the city of Bethlehem; today it is a thriving Israeli city of 8,000-plus. Friends and colleagues who were meeting us in Lancaster passed towns named Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lebanon, and Zion. Early Pennsylvanians believed, as many modern ones do, in the Divine promise that the exiled Jews would be returned to the land of Bethlehem and Zion. How appropriate, I thought, to help usher in our Shabbat with Governor Palin, an American political leader who, more closely than many, identifies with the Holy Land, ancient and modern.”