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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ruderman Family Foundation’

Foundation Offering $250K for Jewish Communal Disabilities Inclusion

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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.

Jewish Harvard Law Prof Recipient of Prize for Disability Rights

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Every once in awhile you read about something that reminds you there are still good people in this world who do good things just because it is the right thing to do, and not because it is politically advantageous.

On Monday, Jan. 27, the Boston and Israel-based Ruderman Family Foundation announced its inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Prize in Inclusion to Michael A. Stein, visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School.  Stein received the $100,000 prize based on his “extraordinary contribution towards including people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public.”

Stein is a perfect choice for the inaugural Ruderman Prize in Inclusion. He was Phi Beta Kappa at New York University, an editor of the Law Review at Harvard Law School, had a coveted federal clerkship, has a master’s and a PhD from Cambridge University, and has enjoyed teaching appointments at Harvard, Stanford, NYU and is a full professor at the William & Mary Law School.

Beyond mere academics, Stein has been involved in and accomplished even greater strides on the national and international stage for the rights of those with disabilities.

At the national level, Stein helped to found and serve as co-director of the Harvard Project on Disabilities, and serves on disability rights advisory boards and was an American Bar Association Commissioner on Mental and Physical Disability Law.

On the international level, Stein worked to help craft, draft and pass the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The CRPD was adopted by the United Nations in 2006. It affirms that people with disabilities have the same human rights as all other people. He has served as legal counsel to the Special Olympics International, advises a number of United Nations bodies. This is just a small sampling of the kinds of work Stein has spearheaded in extending the rights of those with disabilities on the global stage.

The Jewish Press spoke with Stein on Monday afternoon.  Despite the obvious match for someone who has a disability to go into the field of disability law, Stein went to law school with the idea of focusing on legal history.

But Stein, no matter his intellectual virtuosity, was confronted with the reality of a world that did not think much about, and acted even less to, provide those with disabilities the necessary tools to engage in a public life, the kinds of tools everyone else took for granted.

For example, Stein was rewarded with a position on the Harvard Law Review – one of the most highly regarded academic journals in the world.  Only the very best first year law students are invited to become members of the law review.

There he was at the pinnacle of the legal academic world, but for the two years that Stein was on the law review, he had to pull himself up two flights of stairs several times every day because there was no accommodation for people in wheelchairs.

Despite what he hoped to do, what he had to do became clear.

Today, as executive director of the Harvard Project on Disability, Stein has assisted more than three dozen countries to develop and improve their laws on the rights of those with disabilities.

Stein wearily responded when asked which country is the most advanced, in terms of their disability rights laws.

“All countries are developing countries when it comes to the rights of the disabled,” he quipped.

“The United States has some very advanced laws, such as for public access to transportation, or in buildings.”  But in other ways, Stein says, “such as employment law, the rights of those with disabilities is quite limited.”  He pointed out that 80 percent of Americans with disabilities are unemployed.

Reform Sell Half of Its HQ to Raise Cash for Youth Programs

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The Union for Reform Judaism has sold off half of its headquarters in New York and is investing $1 million from the proceeds to overhaul its youth programming.

The sale of one of the union’s two floors at its midtown Manhattan headquarters closed on Wednesday; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the movement’s president, announced the sale in his speech Thursday at the Reform biennial in San Diego. He said $1 million from the sale would be used to supplement major foundation grants awarded to the union to reshape its youth engagement strategies.

Among the new initiatives Jacobs announced are the expansion of the Reform youth movement, NFTY, the National Federation of Temple Youth, to include sixth through eighth graders; a new partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation to help make Reform institutions more open to people with disabilities; and a deepening of the union’s ties with Hebrew Union College.

Federations, Ruderman Foundation, Launch Initiative for Disabled

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Ruderman Family Foundation are launching The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative, which will place young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at Jewish federations across the U.S., beginning in 2014.

“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, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

The initiative will launch as a one-year pilot for five Jewish federations, with the plan to expand to more federations if the project moves into its second year. “Our core Jewish values compel us to further embrace and include people with disabilities in our community,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/federations-ruderman-foundation-launch-initiative-for-disabled/2013/10/04/

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