JAY RUDERMAN (Ruderman Foundation).
(photo credit: JAY RUDERMAN (RUDERMAN FOUNDATION))
NEW YORK – The Ruderman Family Foundation, which works to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, has partnered with Hillel International, an organization that fosters Jewish life on college campuses, to advance the inclusion of students with disabilities at 550 college campuses in the United States and around the world.
As part of the initiative, the Foundation is providing Hillel a $750,000 grant to “help the organization 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.”
Hillel will use these funds over the next three years to develop professional and student training; place inclusion-focused interns on college campuses; and use its communications channels to highlight best practices and stories about inclusion through various campaigns.
“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,” Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said in a statement.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
The partnership was announced on Wednesday by Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, at the Hillel International Global Assembly in Orlando, Florida.
In an op-ed published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier this week, Fingerhut wrote: “We can work together with all students to break down barriers to participation in the Jewish community and on the broader campus.
“And we can be among the ones that students turn to as a resource when they are grappling with mental illness, depression, anxiety and trauma. We can create welcoming spaces, and we can make it clear that they, too, are Jewish leaders,” he added.
Following the announcement, Fingerhut said he “couldn’t be more grateful for the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation.”
Discussions this week at the Hillel International Global Assembly in Orlando, a training session for 700 Hillel staff members, are addressing inclusion, disability and mental health.