Visitor walks past display at US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Visitor walks past display at US Holocaust Memorial MuseumReuters

Edward David Fischman died in 1995 with no direct heirs and directed his inheritance to help build the Jewish State.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the E. David Fischman Scholarship, founded a year after Fischman's passing, past recipients of the award and Israeli civic leaders will gather in Jerusalem on November 17 for a conference to offer tribute to the memory of its founder.

E. David Fischman passed away 21 years ago, leaving behind no surviving direct descendants, losing his only daughter and wife in the Holocaust. After arriving in the U.S. in 1949 with little to his name, he quietly built a successful real estate investment company leaving him with ample wealth at the time of his death.

Mr. Fischman chose to direct the majority of his assets for the creation of 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 already given out $3,050,000 in scholarships to 71 recipients - including many who are helping to shape the future of Israel and the world at large. The scholarship is specifically designated for students pursuing doctorates in the fields of political science, law and economics.

In an effort to combat the so-called “brain drain” which 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 US 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 the hundreds of thousands in some cases, and have been applied to institutions including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UC Berkley, New York University and others.

Mr. Fischman was a long-time resident of the St. Paul, Minnesota area, and the scholarship is administered by the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul. Dan Mogelson, who serves as the director of the E. David Fischman Scholarship on behalf of the Federation said, “Through the immense generosity of Mr. Fischman, over seventy aspiring Israeli scholars have been given the resources to pursue doctorate studies at some of America’s top academic institutions,” he said. “As a result of the millions of dollars that came from this single mans’ vision, he has helped foster the next generation of Israeli civic leaders.”

Among the recipients of the scholarship are numerous highly accomplished Israeli scholars including judges, senior legal advisors to Government Ministries and the IDF and professors in Israeli universities.

“Mr. Fischman experienced the very worst of what man can do to fellow man and witnessed firsthand the devastation of European Jewry,” Mogelson said. “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.”

While over three million dollars has already been delivered, the scholarship’s organizers say that considerable funds remain available for suitable candidates who meet the terms of the program and plan to pursue doctorate degrees in the coming years.

The Conference will take place at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem on November 17th and 18th. Included will be presentations from past recipients and Mr. Fischman’s rabbi and friend, Rabbi Morris Allen, addresses from former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and former Israel Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor and a Gala Dinner.