Ruderman Family Foundation, Hillel launch partnership to promote inclusion for students with disabilities


Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International: The Foundation for Jewish Campu Life.

WASHINGTON-Hillel International today announced a major new partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation to promote inclusion for students with disabilities at 550 college campuses across the country and around the world. The $750,000 grant will help Hillel International address practical barriers to participation in its student programs, as well as launch the spiritual, cultural and communal reflection and action necessary to ensure all Hillel communities can be inclusive of all students. Over the next three years, Hillel International will use these funds to develop a series of professional and student trainings, place inclusion-focused interns on college campuses, and use Hillel's communications channels to highlight best practices and stories about inclusion.

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said: "As our society continues to recognize the rights and contributions of people with disabilities, we will need our emerging leaders to guide us along the path toward full inclusion. On campuses across our country and the world, Hillel professionals and student leaders are our best insurance that inclusion will be a priority for our community. The Ruderman Family Foundation is proud to partner with Hillel in building a Jewish community in which people of all abilities are welcomed and celebrated."

Hillel's partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation was formally announced at the Hillel International Global Assembly in Orlando on Dec. 16. Discussions of inclusion, disability and mental health will play a prominent role at this four-day training for more than 700 Hillel staff members. The plenary program will feature a presentation from Jay and Shira Ruderman, President and Israel Director, respectively, of the Ruderman Family Foundation. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a Jewish text discussion about inclusion, as well as trainings for staff to identify and help support students with mental illness.

President and CEO of Hillel International Eric D. Fingerhut said, "I couldn't be more grateful for the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation or more excited about the work we'll do together. As Hillel International continues the Drive to Excellence, our comprehensive plan to make an enduring impact for all Jewish students on campus, we must ensure that no students are left behind. This partnership will ensure that inclusion remains our primary goal as we seek to improve Jewish life on campus for all."

In addition to the program at the Hillel International Global Assembly, the Ruderman partnership will include the development of several training resources and programs, including an "Ask Big Questions" curriculum on inclusion. Hillel International will also launch the Ruderman Engagement Internship, an expansion of Hillel's successful engagement model that will hire students to focus on disability and inclusion in their campus Jewish communities. Hillel will also begin a campaign to use its publications and social media to disseminate information about inclusion on Hillel programs and campuses, share stories and spread tools and techniques for inclusion from campus to campus.


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