Alumni of Holocaust survivor’s scholarship fund for Israelis hold reunion in Jerusalem
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Alumni of Holocaust survivor’s scholarship fund for Israelis hold reunion in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Alumni of a Holocaust survivor’s scholarship that pays for Israeli students to pursue a doctorate at a U.S. institution – on condition that they return to Israel after their studies – are remembering their benefactor at a reunion in Jerusalem.

Edward David Fischman died in 1995 with no direct descendants after losing his only daughter and his wife in the Holocaust. He arrived in the United States in 1949 and built a successful real estate investment company in the St. Paul, Minnesota, area.

Prior to his death, Fischman used his estate to set up a scholarship fund specifically intended to benefit accomplished Israeli scholars looking to pursue doctorate programs in the United States.

Since its launch, the program has given out more than $3 million to 71 recipients. The scholarship is specifically designated for students pursuing doctorates in the fields of political science, law and economics.

Among its recipients are numerous Israeli judges, senior legal advisers to government ministries and the Israeli military, and professors at Israeli universities.

The reunion conference is being held Thursday and Friday at the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

“Mr. Fischman experienced the very worst of what man can do to fellow man and witnessed firsthand the devastation of European Jewry,” said Dan Mogelson, who serves as the director of the E. David Fischman Scholarship on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, which administers the fund. “After being able to quietly build a new life for himself, he was committed that his legacy would be applied to creating a better future for the Jewish State and that is what this program has achieved.”

In an effort to combat the so-called “brain drain” that has sapped Israel of many of its leading minds in recent years, the Fischman Scholarship specifically delineates that recipients must return to Israel after completion of their studies in the U.S. and remain in the country for at least five years.

The scholarships, which are allocated based on specific needs of the applicant, can range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands in some cases, and have been applied to institutions including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of California, Berkeley and New York University.