United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ has awarded a French-born student at Brandeis University a fellowship to pursue graduate studies in public policy and Jewish professional leadership.
Nir Buchler is the latest recipient of a Lowenstein Fellowship, established by the late attorney Alan V. Lowenstein and Lowenstein Sandler, a law firm he founded.
The scholarship provides substantial funding for recipients to obtain a master’s degree in policy sciences, social work, business administration, and/or Jewish communal service and public administration.
Grant recipients commit to working in a North American Jewish federation for a minimum of two years after graduation; Buchler, a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar as well as a Lowenstein Fellow, will spend the next two years at the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis in Waltham, Mass. After that, as a Lowenstein Fellow, he is committed to doing his required federation work at UJC MetroWest.
The Lowenstein Fellowship is a dedicated scholarship of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest NJ, the planned giving and endowment arm of UJC MetroWest.
Since Lowenstein’s death, the fellowship has been administered by Bruce Shoulson of Lowenstein Sandler.
“Alan Lowenstein was not only a premier corporate lawyer, he was civically active both in the Jewish community and beyond,” said Shoulson. “He endowed the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and chairs at Rutgers and the University of Michigan. He was national vice president of the Council of Jewish Federations, a UJA chairman, president of our local Jewish Community Council, and of course, one of his enduring legacies is the Lowenstein Fellowship.”
“Lowenstein had a stellar career, not only in the law but in supporting the Jewish community in so many ways,” said UJC MetroWest executive vice president Max L. Kleinman. “He had a great commitment to Jewish communal service, which is what led him to want to provide training to people like Nir.”
The Lowenstein Fellowship awards one of the two “community-designated” scholarships currently available as part of the Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program, a graduate scholarship program funded through the North American Jewish federation system.
Buchler, like all FEREP recipients, will attend the national UJC General Assembly and, later in the program, will be assisted by program staff in obtaining professional placement.
“I’m very honored to be a Lowenstein Fellow,” said Buchler. “Those are big shoes to try to fill, but I’ll do my best to carry on his legacy, as well as the legacies of Brandeis and Bernard Baruch,” the statesman, philanthropist, and namesake of Baruch College in New York, where Buchler earned a BA.
Buchler, who grew up in Paris and is planning to become a United States citizen next year, worked at the New York State Assembly. He spent time in Israel under the auspices of MASA, an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel that provides programs for young Jewish adults, and later worked as a MASA representative.
“I came to realize in Israel that there is a possibility of having a Jewish public policy that incorporates Jewish values,” Buchler said. “It’s a challenge today, because at one time we were speaking with one voice, but today you can be engaged with humanity in so many different ways. That’s the challenge, to bring everybody together. Federations are a good setting for that.”
“One of the things we saw in Nir was his personal passion,” said Shoulson. “He’s obviously someone who approaches Jewish communal service very seriously, gives it a great deal of thought, and has a vision that goes beyond the ordinary. He’s looking to the greater effects of what we do locally and how that can be replicated, how it can be expanded, how it can be multiplied by the involvement with other groups in other areas. We’re delighted to have this young man carry the Lowenstein name.”