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Nachum, along with his family, Maccabi National Swim Committee representative, Geoff Sandler, MAI President Jeff Sher and IPP Barry Smorgon OAM

Nachum Buch Maccabi Australia Scholarship Fund

Nachum, along with his family, Maccabi National Swim Committee representative, Geoff Sandler, MAI President Jeff Sher and IPP Barry Smorgon OAM


Nachum Buch has been a stalwart of Jewish swimming for the best part of five decades.

At age 10 Nachum started swimming in Israel whenever he could, and mainly at the reservoir in Tel Aviv where his mother would take him near his home. There were not many pools in Israel at that time.

At age 12 he started competing in swimming around Tel Aviv. At 15 Nachum broke the junior record for the 100 metres freestyle, after which he was invited to compete against Greece in Haifa for the Israeli national team.

At the age of 19, without much coaching, Nachum was selected to compete as the first Israeli Olympian, and competed in the 100m freestyle at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. A trailblazer, Nachum became a sporting legend in Israel.

At age 25 Nachum went to Germany to study physical education and was invited to compete for Israel in water polo against Greece. He was then invited to Yale and there undertook a swimming coaching program. He later coached Israeli teams internationally, including competitions in Ireland and Belgium, as well as to the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

After Nachum moved to Australia in 1974, he coached swimmers privately and at Ajax, played and coached water polo and participated at 4 Maccabi Games for Australia as swimming coach, masters swimmer and water polo player and coach.

After Mt Scopus College opened its pool Nachum was appointed to run the swimming program and maintain the pool, which he did for 12 years until he retired.

In total Nachum competed at 15 Maccabiah Games, for Israel and Australia, in swimming and water polo.

Maccabi Australia together with our member States and affiliated Clubs exist to promote Jewish identity and continuity – connecting our Jewish community through sport.

We are the largest Jewish grass-roots organisation in Australia, boasting an 85-year heritage, 35,000 supporters and 9,000 members ranging in age from 5 to 85 years across over 50 clubs. Through the values of respect, teamwork, community and volunteerism, Maccabi plays a key role in the Australian Jewish community, not just in sport but in the development of our community’s future leaders.

With the foresight and generosity of Nachum and his family, we are so pleased to now be able provide some assistance to those athletes with a dream in acquatic sports….

Yearly Grant

The Nachum Bush Maccabi Australia Scholarship Fund will make a single grant each year of up to $2,000 for the next 10 years to emerging swimmers to assist them on the path to achieving at an elite level.

Each year the grant will be made to the individual who best fits the criteria, and is deemed the most deserving by the selection panel. The first grant will be made in January 2018.

Funding can be used to pay for such legitimate items as travel to tournaments, coaching expenses, registration or nomination fees and the like. Funds must be spent within the calendar year in which they are granted and copies of receipts or other formal documentation are required to be submitted for our financial records supporting the expenditure.


It is our wish that funds be made available to an athlete striving to achieve at an elite level. This athlete must embrace and embody the Maccabi values and be:

  • An Australian resident
  • Striving to achieve elite status as an Australian
  • Competing in a Junior or Open division
  • Able to document the purpose for which the grant moneys will be utilized
  • Prepared to become a spokesperson for Maccabi
  • An Eligible person as defined by the Maccabi Australia constitution
  • In the year of a Maccabiah, priority will be given to swimmers selected to compete at the Games

Selection Panel

A selection panel of three (4) people will be established. The panel will consist of two members of Nachum’s family plus the President of Maccabi Australia or their nominee and the Chairman of the National Swimming committee


The following process will be undertaken:

  • Applicants must complete the Maccabi Awards nomination form and submit it to Maccabi Australia by the close date.
  • The Selection Panel will review all applications, and create a short list.
  • The Selection Panel will meet with each of the short listed nominees.
  • The successful nominee will be informed by the end of January, with a formal presentation to take place at an appropriate time and venue.
  • A post scholarship review will be undertaken to confirm such matters as what the funds were used for, did it make a difference, has the person become an advocate for Maccabi and the like.

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