In continuing its commitment to and advocacy for inclusion of people with disabilities into society, the Ruderman Family Foundation has announced that it will award the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to Dr. Michael Stein, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. The award recognizes an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public. The $100,000 award is based on past achievements and the potential for future contributions to the field.
A three-person Nominating Committee identified a highly selective pool of candidates to recommend. The Trustees of the Ruderman Family Foundation made the final selection of Dr. Stein.
Michael Stein is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability. An internationally recognized expert on disability rights, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and actively consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies. Stein has also acted as legal counsel to Rehabilitation International, Disabled Peoples’ International and to Special Olympics International. He works with organizations fighting for disability rights around the world and advises a number of United Nations bodies, such as UNDESA, UNICEF, and UNOHCHR, as well as individual national human rights institutions.
The Award was named after Mort Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. Morton E. Ruderman was a successful entrepreneur, mentor and proud family man. He saw his success as the result of help he received from others and was therefore passionate about providing opportunities for others – including assisting many people in becoming independent and successful in business.
The work of the foundation addresses Mort’s view that the exclusion of persons with disabilities and absence from Jewish life is fundamentally unfair. The primary consideration for the award is whether the recipient’s work has made life more equitable for people with disabilities.
This award joins other signature programs of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.