Nachum Buch Scholarship

Nachum Buch Maccabi Australia Scholarship Fund


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.

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 Buch 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 nomination form as part of the Maccabi Annual Awards nominations 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.


2018: Benno Negri and Matt Levy


Benno began competing at 9 years old as a junior competitor for Bialik College.  As a junior swimmer, he has won several National Age Awards including 2014 National Champion for the 200 Backstroke.  A highlight of his swimming career has been donning “the green and gold” to represent on the Australian Junior Team and winning a silver medal at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Games. 

Benno has won many Swimming Victoria Championships at both the Age and Open level.  Recently he competed in the 2017 Mare Nostrum Swimming Series in Europe and at the Swimming Australia Selection Trials for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  He is about to travel to Singapore representing Swimming Victoria at the Singapore Swimming Championships and will be competing at another 2 Australian selection trials in 2018 – the Pan Pacific Swimming Trials (for selection to the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo August 2018) and the Swimming Australia National Short Course Championships (for selection to the FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou December 2018)


Matt has been representing Australia as a swimmer since 2003, swimming career highlights include:

  • Member of the Dolphins Team competing in the 2017 IPC World Swimming Championships, Mexico
  • Won a bronze medal in the 200m Freestyle at the 2016 Paralympic Games
  • Represented Australia at the 2013 and 2015 IPC World Championships
  • Won gold as a member of the 4X100m Freestyle relay team at the 2010 IPC World Championships and again at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
  • Winning a gold medal and breaking a world record for the 200 freestyle in the S7 category at the 2017 Maccabiah Games
  • Winning a Gold Medal for the 50 S7 Freestyle at the recent 2018 Commonwealth Games

He balances his swimming career whilst working at Westpac as a project manager. 

Matt claims that representing Australia and Maccabi at the 2017 Maccabiah Games was one of the greatest honors in my 17-year sporting career and he is grateful for the experience it brought.

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