With a grant of $1 million, the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) has established a partnership with Chabad-Lubavitch in order to create a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities within some 4,200 Jewish communities worldwide.
This partnership was developed to promote a marked difference in the real-life experience of people with disabilities by changing attitudes within Jewish communities from “doing for” to “working with” people with disabilities.
Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a passionate advocate of inclusion, says that the decision to partner with Chabad was clear: “With emissaries in virtually every Jewish community across the globe, Chabad represents one of the most extensive and influential outreach efforts in the Jewish world,” he says. “We believe that the Ruderman Family Foundation’s partnership with Chabad will bring the message of disability inclusion to Jews everywhere. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson z”l taught that every Jew is equal and every Jew is a valued member of our community regardless of their abilities. Our partnership with Chabad will ensure that his message is embraced by all Jews.”
The grant – to date the largest the RFF has made to a religious organization – will be used to develop comprehensive programming introducing strategic initiatives for inclusion of people with disabilities across the lifespan – from preschoolers through the teenage years, on college campuses and into adulthood. The Initiative will offer internships to train post-seminary students and camp counselors on best practices on inclusion and will be test piloted in 25 select Jewish communities.