Boston, MA August 17, 2015 – The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today the five winners of the fourth annual global Ruderman Prize in Inclusion competition. The Prize honors Jewish organizations who operate innovative programs and provide services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community. The winners are: Yavne Institute (Montevideo, Uruguay), Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (OH, U.S.), Kisharon’s Adult Employment Programme (U.K.), Room on the Bench (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Beit Hillel (Ra’anana, Israel). Each winner will receive $50,000 to continue their work and pursue new opportunities for inclusion in their local communities.
“As our worldwide Jewish community begins to accept and practice the value that all Jewish people have a right to belong and participate in Jewish life, this year’s Ruderman Prize in Inclusion awardees set the standard for the rest of our community organizations to aspire to attain,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “It is our hope that these awardees not only serve as the gold standard for disability inclusion in their communities, but for the entire Jewish community across the globe.”
The Prize highlights the recipient organizations as models for inclusion that can be replicated anywhere. Fully inclusive programs ensure that everyone in our community can participate together in all activities, without stigma or imposed limitations. The Ruderman Prize in Inclusion is a signature program of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.
Hundreds of organizations from almost every continent have applied since the Prize was first announced in 2012. Organizations from Canada, Israel, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Mexico, the U.S. and Argentina have received the award. This year’s winners include programs dedicated to employment, religious ethics, inclusive education and full community involvement.
This year’s winners are:
Yavne Institute (Montevideo, Uruguay) – From its very beginning in 1952, Yavne has opened its doors to every family, including those with children with diverse disabilities. They have established a dedicated and comprehensive workforce aimed at the well-being of all its students. As the only Jewish inclusive school in Uruguay, they have set the stage to create a more solid and fair community.
YouthAbility Program (Cleveland, OH) – The Horvitz YouthAbility Program of JFSA Cleveland serves at-risk and youth with disabilities, ages 16-26, by engaging them in volunteer service, vocational activities, wellness education and social enrichment. YouthAbility participants help themselves by helping others. Each time that YouthAbility participants volunteer in the community, they deliver a powerful message that people who are differently abled are very ABLE to impact and improve our community!
Kisharon’s Adult Employment Programme (U.K.) – Kisharon’s Adult Employment Programme supports people with learning disabilities into work experience and paid part-time jobs through creating partnerships with businesses in the local community and in the City of London. In 2015, more than 60 new work placements have enabled people with complex needs to find jobs in estate agencies, solicitors, schools, charities, butchers, bakeries and supermarkets. Kisharon provides one-to-one support in travel skills and timekeeping and also supports employers, to ensure that jobs are well done.
Room on the Bench (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – Room on the Bench: A Project of the Luria Academy of Brooklyn works to transform the experience of students with disabilities and their families into one that fully integrates them as members of the Jewish day school community, collaborating with schools to create an inclusive environment through modeling best practices, online guides and consulting services. Room on the Bench works to engage teachers, outside service providers and parents to create more integrated schools.
Beit Hillel (Ra’anana, Israel) – Beit Hillel – “Attentive Spiritual Leadership”- is an organization comprised of over 120 religious leaders (men and women) from the Religious Zionist community. Beit Hillel is a think-tank at the forefront of and deeply involved in legal and philosophical research on the most pressing contemporary issues in Israel today. They have focused on the standing, status and stature of those with disabilities in the religious communities, and have led the way in introducing opinions and guidance to the community at large regarding these critical issues.