On Tuesday, March 11, the Ruderman Family Foundation announced the launch of a global competition for the third annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion.
This Ruderman Prize is given annually to those organizations whose work best exemplifies, through innovative programs and services, the full inclusion of people with disabilities. It is given to celebrate those organizations as inspirations and models for replication by other organizations. The goal, of course, is for full inclusion of people with disabilities into all areas of Jewish communal life.
Fully inclusive programs, the Ruderman Foundation explains, ensure that everyone can participate together, without stigma or imposed limitations.
“Our foundation is seeking to recognize and award excellence in the inclusion of people with disabilities in our Jewish community around the globe,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
“It is our hope that by shining a light on the leaders in inclusion in our community that we will encourage other organizations to follow their lead and effectuate lasting change. We believe that a more inclusive Jewish community is a fair and flourishing one for all.”
Over the last two years, fifteen organizations worldwide have been recipients of the prize, including organizations in Russia, the UK, the United States, Mexico, Israel, South Africa and Argentina. The winners include schools, a synagogue, a dance company, a bakery and organizations that serve all Jews, whether they have a disability or not.
Guidelines and a link to the application form for the awards are available on the foundation’s website, rudermanfoundation.org. Submissions are due by Monday April 7, 2014 and the winners will be announced in June. The $250,000 will be shared by five outstanding organizations.
The Ruderman Prize in Inclusion is a signature program of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
About the Ruderman Family Foundation
The Ruderman Family Foundation, guided by their Jewish values, support effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy.
The Foundation’s core areas of interest: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the Jewish community; fostering a more nuanced understanding of the American Jewish community among Israeli leaders; and modeling strategic philanthropy.
The Jewish Press covered another generous prize awarded by the Ruderman Foundation in late January. That was when the Foundation announced its inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to Michael A. Stein, visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School. Stein received the $100,000 award based on his “extraordinary contribution towards including people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public.”
And in October there was yet another generous, bold initiative announced by the Foundation. This one was a partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America: The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative. That program places young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at Jewish Federations across the U.S.
“By making people with disabilities more visible, we will raise awareness of the importance of inclusion, thus strengthening the Jewish community and benefitting us all,” said Jay Ruderman, when that initiative was announced.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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