In 1949, Polish-born Edward David Fischman arrived in St. Paul to begin life all over again — alone. The 40-year-old Holocaust survivor lost most of his family — including his wife and only child — in the war. A hardware manufacturing business owner and musician in Warsaw, Fischman settled in St. Paul’s Selby-Dale area. He lived a modest life there, belying the substantial fortune he would acquire during the next few decades through real estate investments. When Fischman died in 1995, he left an extraordinary legacy with a resounding impact on the future of Israel.
In his will, he created the E. David Fischman Scholarship Fund, which provides full tuition to enable Israeli graduate students to attend America’s best universities to obtain doctorates in political science, law, or economics.
“He wanted to offer Israel's best and brightest an opportunity for a quality education, on the condition that they return and help transform Israeli society,” explains Rabbi Morris Allen of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, which Fischman joined late in his life. “He had a great love of Israel, and he understood its importance for Judaism the world over.”
The St. Paul Jewish Federation administers the scholarship fund, which has granted 71 scholarships since its inception. With the high cost of tuition, often as much as $60,000 a year, this prestigious prize is sought by an increasing numbers of applicants.
Daria Shitrit, from Tel Aviv, is a Master of Public Administration candidate at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Her studies are focused on urban and social policy and management, with electives in social innovation - bridging her passion for channeling innovation for social good. She hopes to return to Israel to implement these critical thinking and analysis skills to work in the public sector. Her long- term goal is to serve as a leader in the public sphere, hopefully as a member of Knesset.
Amit Haim, from Jerusalem, studied law and humanities at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and went on to clerk at the Supreme Court. He completed a master's in law at Standford and recently started a doctoral program in law there as well. Haim studies the effects of artificial intelligence on administrative agencies and their decision-making, especially in the social welfare sector. His intention is to return to Israel to pursue an academic career as a researcher and professor.
Neta Bettat, from Tel Aviv, received her Bachelor of Law from Tel Aviv University as well as a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is currently a Master of Law student at Columbia Law School. After completing advanced legal studies, she aims to continue practicing law with the goal of serving as a senior law clerk at an Israeli high court. She hopes to use her studies and past litigation experience to achieve what she sees as her calling, serving her country as a judge.
Gilad Mills, from Raanana, is currently a Master of Law candidate at Harvard. He is focusing on the intersection between private and public law with a specific interest in questions concerning the changing media ecosystem and its effects on democracy. He intends to apply for the Doctor of Juridical Science program to continue developing his ideas. His goal is to contribute to the legal discourse through academia when he returns to Israel.
Eden Lapidor, from Hadera, is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Juridical Science at the Georgetown University Law Center. She is researching ways states interpret the laws regulating war when fighting against rogue actors (both state and non-state) who disrespect and violate international law. She plans to pursue a career in academia, believing it has an important role in the public discussion and can drive change at the state level.