Jerusalem Post 50 Most Influential Jews: Number 46 - Jay and Shira Ruderman

Fighting for inclusion.

Jay and Shira Ruderman (photo credit: RUDERMAN FAMILY FOUNDATION)
Jay and Shira Ruderman
The Rudermans are a Boston-based power couple, well-respected professionals and lay leaders who promote social justice for people with disabilities and the strategic relationship between the US and Israel. Together they run the Ruderman Family Foundation, which “believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.”
The foundation, which provides funding, leadership, expertise and insight in the US and Israel, invests in three primary areas: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.
When they received an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa last year for their philanthropic activity, the couple was cited for changing the reality of how people with disabilities are included in all aspects of life, as well as advancing the strategic relationship between American Jews and Israel. In this context, they established an MA degree at the University of Haifa – the Ruderman Program for American-Jewish Studies – the only program of its kind in Israel.
Jay Ruderman, 50, is president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, while Shira, 37, is its executive director.
A lawyer in Boston, Jay has also served as deputy director and Israel leadership director of AIPAC in New England. He is on the board of directors of the Jewish Funders Network and a member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Executive Committee.
Shira Ruderman, who was born in Israel, has for the past 14 years led programs and investments, including missions and seminars for Knesset members and journalists, as well as a Knesset caucus on Israel-American relations.
Most recently, she was appointed chairwoman of the Fulbright Foundation, which aims to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Israel through student and faculty exchanges.
Standing at a personal intersection of Israel and America, Jay and Shira Ruderman offer a unique voice of understanding and professionalism to Jewish leadership in Israel and America. The Rudermans, who have been living in Boston with their four children for the past two years, feature prominently in international media, and have a huge following on social media.
They have red-carded politicians and celebrities for using language that is offensive to disabled people, and urged presidential candidates to address the inclusion of “one of the most systematically segregated and marginalized minorities in the US.”
The Rudermans have spearheaded a range of international initiatives, including prizes, business awards and conferences, and effected significant changes in the agenda of the Jewish community in the US and Israel on the important issues for which they advocate.