Disability Inclusion

Disability Inclusion

Our Internal Inclusion Programs

Interfaith Convenings

This is an initiative bringing together interfaith leaders from across the Greater Boston area to promote inclusion in all types of religious communities. Building networks and sharing resources, clergy and laypeople come together to learn best practices and get motivated to make the inclusion of people with disabilities a top priority in their churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples.

Ruderman Inclusion Summit

A biannual conference of international scope, bringing 1,000 people from around the world and across sectors to focus on inclusion in all facets of life. Attendees, speakers, and volunteers will come together to learn, network, exchange best practices, and get motivated to promote full inclusion in all aspects of life. In 2017 the content will include over 15 panels and plenaries, on the topics of education, healthcare, housing, government services, policy, advocacy, social justice, the arts, technology, employment, and more. www.inclusion2017.org

Our Inclusion Partnerships and Programs

Adaptive Sports New England

  • Northeast Youth and High School Inclusive Sports Project:  The Ruderman Family Foundation has partnered with Adaptive Sports New England to expand the Northeast Youth and High School Inclusive Sports Project.  This project maximizes and enhances the participation of student-athletes with visual or mobility impairments in high school sports across the eight northeast states.  Activities include leadership development among high school sports professionals; sports clinics for students with and without disabilities; education and training for school and community officials; and raising awareness about opportunities for sports participation.  For more information, please visit: http://adaptivesportsne.org/

Bar Ilan University, Disability Rights Clinic, Law Faculty

  • White Paper: The Ruderman Family Foundation and LINK20 partnered with the Disability Rights Clinic to compose a comprehensive position paper regarding disability and leadership. The position paper examines concepts of leadership, justifications for advancing the leadership of people with disabilities, the social barriers they must confront, and the desirable ways to advance and raise public awareness of this subject. The paper has been widely distributed and presented to decision-makers in order to increase the effective implementation of the proposals for inclusion that the researchers offer. The Clinic also provides legal counseling to increase knowledge of the social and fiscal rights of people and children with disabilities. To learn more visit http://law-clinics.biu.ac.il/en/node/116

Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel Elwyn, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

  • The National Self-Advocacy and Leadership Development Project for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Israel: Our program transforms the idea of “nothing about us, without us” into a practical program, where groups of adults with intellectual disabilities meet and work to promote local and national projects and issues of importance. The program seeks to empower this population and provide them with knowledge and skills for self-advocacy and active leadership so that they can exercise their natural rights through Israeli and international legislation, participate in making decisions pertaining to their lives, advance policy issues that require government attention, and improve the quality of their lives. This program is supported by the partnership between the Ruderman Family Foundation, Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel Elwyn, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. To learn more visit https://en.beitissie.org.il/social-change/leadership-self-advocacy/

Beit Issie Shapiro, PresenTense Israel

  • Accelerator A3i: The Ruderman Family Foundation collaborated with PresenTense Israel and Beit Issie Shapiro to launch A3i – Accelerator Inclusion in Israel – the first accelerator for assistive technologies in the world. Technology affects all of us, however for people with a disability; technology can be truly transformative – allowing for greater inclusion in all aspects of life. The A3i accelerator has launched over 30 exciting and innovative products and services that are assisting tens of thousands of people in Israel and around the world. To learn more about Accelerator A3i visit http://eng.a3i.org.il/  and to learn more about PresentTense visit http://presentense.org


  • Campaign intended to increase awareness of the integration of people and young people with disabilities into community life: Human rights, equal opportunities and participation of people with disabilities in all areas of life are all common values shared by ​​Bizchut and LINK20. Bizchut is a center for the promotion of the human rights of people with disabilities and is the first and leading organization in Israel in this field. Together, Bizchut and LINK20 launched a wide-ranging viral campaign that was initiated, planned, and recorded by young people with disabilities. The campaign intended to increase awareness of the integration of people and young people with disabilities into community life, as well as to generate public support for the proposed “Living in the Community and Personal Assistance” bill moving through the Israeli Parliament. The campaign received more than a million views through exposure on social media and news coverage in Israel and the United States. To learn more about Bizchut visit https://www.bizchut.org.il/copy-of-2

Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston

  • Inclusion Program: Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB) and the Ruderman Family Foundation are proud partners in a comprehensive inclusion initiative for Boston youth. This program fosters an inclusive culture and ensures that all members can benefit from the full positive impact of BGCB’s programming. Through this initiative, local Boston youth and families receive critical access to affordable, high-quality inclusive opportunities during the out-of-school-time hours, so all members of the community feel welcomed and accepted. To find out more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston’s Inclusion Program, please visit: http://www.bgcb.org

Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester

  • Project Bind: The Ruderman Family Foundation has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester (BGCD) and the Boston Police Department in order to expand Project BIND (Boston Inclusion Network for Disabilities). Through the Safe Summer Streets, Junior Police, and Youth Forum programs, children and families connect and form positive relationships with local officers, promoting the safety and inclusion of club members with disabilities and their families.

Boston Jewish Film Festival

  • ReelAbilities Film Festival: The ReelAbilities Film Festival brings together the community to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. This weeklong film festival shines a light on a population that is often overlooked in the film world and provides moving, thought-provoking, and enjoyable movies that are not frequently shown as part of mainstream offerings. The Ruderman Family Foundation is thrilled to continue our partnership with the Boston Jewish Film festival to support this important arts initiative. To learn more about this year’s ReelAbilities Film Festival, please go to: http://boston.reelabilities.org

Brandeis University, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

Ruderman Social Justice in Disability Scholars Program:  In 2013, RFF partnered with the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University.  This program develops leadership capacity for Brandeis undergraduates with an interest in disability issues.  Participants complete an internship at a disability organization, take courses in Disability Policy, and work with Brandeis faculty to complete a research project related to disability and social justice.   For more information, please visit: http://heller.brandeis.edu/letter/index.html

Chabad Lubavitch

  • The Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative: The Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative (RCII) was established in 2015 in order to provide Chabad communities around the globe the education and resources they need to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. Program highlights include the development and dissemination of “Toward Inclusion”, a Jewish Learning Institute signature course, and the creation of a “Jewish Disabilities Inclusion” site within Chabad.org, the most utilized religious website in the world.  For more information, please visit http://www.rcii.org/.

Friendship Circle of Miami

Kulanu Circle Hebrew School: In line with its deep commitment to inclusive Jewish education, the Ruderman Family Foundation has partnered with the Friendship Circle of Miami to support Kulanu Circle Hebrew school. Kulanu Circle is the only inclusion-based Sunday Hebrew school currently meeting the needs of Jewish children with disabilities in Miami. The Friendship Circle offers Jewish education to all children regardless of ability, providing Bar Mitzvah education and training so that all children who want to, and are eligible to become a Bar Mitzvah, are able to participate. For more information about Kulanu Circle, please go to: http://www.friendshipcirclemiami.org/templates/youth/article_cdo/aid/1950693/jewish/The-Kulanu-Circle-at-the-Chabad-of-Kendall-Pinecrest.htm

Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP)

Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project: The Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project (RSIP) is a partnership between CJP and the Ruderman Family Foundation to support synagogues. Creating communities where people of all abilities are valued equally and participate fully. RSIP works together with 6-8 Partners and 6-8 Affiliate synagogues from all Jewish denominations every year. Growing the cohort of inclusive synagogues to reach a critical mass that can influence and revolutionize religious life in the entire CJP catchment area. https://www.cjp.org/our-work/caring-social-justice/ruderman-synagogue-inclusion-project

Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education

MER Inclusion Scholarship Fund: In partnership with CJP and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, the MER Scholarship helps to defray the cost of both school-based and ancillary services for day school students with disabilities and special needs, particularly those who require financial aid. The goal of the scholarship is to attract and retain students with disabilities in Jewish day schools, transforming the face of inclusion in Jewish education. https://www.cjp.org/our-work/jewish-learning/jewish-day-schools/morton-e-ruderman-inclusion-scholarship-fund

Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS)

  • Transitions to Work: In 2011, RFF partnered with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) to create Transitions to Work, a training and job placement program for young adults with disabilities. Transitions graduates are highly qualified for the jobs that they apply for, and more than 90% of Transitions graduates stay at their jobs for at least one year.  In order to raise awareness within the business community about the benefits of inclusive employment, Transitions to Work has partnered with more than 75 corporations.  For more information, please visit  https://www.cjp.org/our-work/our-caring-programs/transitions-to-work

Feurstein Institute

  • Hazon Partnership and Marriage Preparation Program: In 2013, the Ruderman Family Foundation and the Feuerstein Institute partnered to create the Hazon Partnership and Marriage Preparation Program. This cutting-edge venture provides young adults with disabilities the guidance and training to form, establish, and maintain lasting intimate relationships. As a relationship develops, the Hazon staff provides the participants with couples and family counseling and teaches courses in all matters relating to building a family and maintaining a household. To date, four couples have married, and more are on the path to engagement. As part of the program, a public council was set up to conduct discourse about relationships and parenting of people with disabilities and to raise public awareness of the issue in general. The council is multidisciplinary and its members represent different fields of knowledge: religion, ethics, law and justice, health, education, and psychology. To learn more visit http://www.icelp.info

Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC)[:he]Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC):

  • Ruderman Inclusion Initiative: In 2014, the FJC Ruderman Inclusion Initiative was established at six Jewish overnight camps across North America. This initiative enabled these camps to hire and train inclusion coordinators who, with guidance from FJC, currently work to increase the number of children with disabilities attending their camps.  This initiative also includes marketing campaigns in order to promote Jewish camp to families of children with disabilities.  For more information, please visit http://www.jewishcamp.org/

Gateways: Access to Jewish Education

  • Ambassadors for Inclusion: After many years of partnership, the Ruderman Family Foundation is excited to collaborate with Gateways: Access to Jewish Education on an exciting new initiative called Ambassadors for Inclusion. Ambassadors for Inclusion creates a Kindergarten through 12th-grade program to educate Jewish students to be members of, and thrive in, an inclusive Jewish Community. Students learn about a range of disabilities through informational PowerPoints, videos, interactive activities, and hearing first-hand from speakers with disabilities. This program takes place in Jewish Day and Congregational schools throughout the greater Boston area and is expanding to communities outside Massachusetts into West Hartford, CT, and Port Chester, NY. You can learn more about Ambassadors for Inclusion at: https://www.jgateways.org/peerinclusion

Government of Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

  • Israel Unlimited: JDC Israel Unlimited is a strategic partnership between JDC, the Government of Israel and the Ruderman Family Foundation, that aims to create a cultural shift towards a more inclusive society while helping the immediate, daily needs of people with disabilities. Israel Unlimited is the leading incubator of programs and services for people with disabilities in Israel, staffed by passionate professionals who believe that we should focus on people’s abilities, not disabilities, and help them integrate into Israeli society. In the last two years, Israel Unlimited has been leading a revolution in Israel regarding the issue of independent housing in the community, person-oriented services and personal budgeting. Programs are currently operating in more than 50 different cities and regional councils across Israel, reaching over 18,000 participants. By the end of 2018, Israel Unlimited expects that reach to expand to over 36,000 participants. To learn more visit http://israelunlimited.jdc.org.il/en

Government of Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and Joint Council of Mechinot

Inclusive Mechinot: The Ruderman Family Foundation partners with the Joint Council of Mechinot (Pre-Military Leadership Academies) to ensure the inclusion of young people with disabilities in pre-military programs throughout Israel. We believe that in order to have the best Israeli civic and social leadership tomorrow, all parts of Israeli society, including the IDF, must work to cultivate leaders today. The full inclusion of individuals with disabilities at the mechinot, which not only prepare students for military service but also help them grow as civic leaders, requires extensive and intensive change, including staff training, structural modifications, procurement of equipment, and a new approach to the education of mechina students, as well as efforts to achieve attitudinal change within society.

The Ruderman Family Foundation supports the Council’s programs and assists alumni of mechinotto obtain fitting military assignments and to find their places in civilian life after their service. The program is a collaboration between the Ruderman Family Foundation, the Government of Israel and JDC- Ashalim and the Joint Council of Mechinot.   To learn more visit http://mechinot.org.il/en-us/

Haifa, Techion Institute

TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers: TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers hosted TOM: Israel 2017 a 72-hour Makeathon at the Technion Institute in Haifa in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation. The Makeathon (a marathon of innovation and creation) brought together over 160 ‘Makers’ – engineers, designers, innovators and problem solvers – from the United States, Canada, England, China, India, Sri Lanka and Israel, to work together with 20 people with disabilities to develop technological solutions for everyday challenges. In addition to being the largest Makeathon in world history, TOM:Israel 2017 was the first international Makeathon of the growing global movement that spans Israel, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia, and Vietnam. Throughout the 3-day event in Haifa, teams of technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities addressed 17 challenges of people living with disabilities, working hand-in-hand to create prototype solutions. To learn more visit http://tomglobal.org

Hillel International

  • Ruderman Inclusion Ambassadors: Our partnership with Hillel International focuses on disability engagement and inclusion at college, as well as throughout the entire Hillel organization, combatting stigma and transforming campuses into truly inclusive spaces. This initiative funds inclusion training during conferences; the Ruderman Inclusion Ambassadors, who are engagement interns on campuses; an inclusion curriculum for Ask Big Questions; and social media coverage of inclusion on campus. http://www.hillel.org/

Jewish Community Center of the North Shore

  • Inclusion Camp and Early Childhood Education Program: In response to growing demands in the North Shore for more inclusive programing, the Ruderman Family Foundation and the JCC of the North Shore have partnered to provide an Inclusive Camp, and a newly inclusive Early Childhood Education program. The camp provides a fun summer experience for both campers and staff with and without disabilities, while the Early Childhood Education program offers year-round inclusive programming for children attending the JCC’s preschool. For more information on both of these wonderful programs, please visit the JCC of the North Shore’s website at: https://jccns.org

Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)-Tevet

RampUp: The Ruderman Family Foundation has partnered with JDC-TEVET’s RampUp, a program that has been helping Israelis with disabilities work and fulfills their real potential since 2013. RampUp offers a comprehensive and holistic set of services, including individual and group employment workshops, soft skills training, personal career counseling, and more — all with sensitivity towards the client’s disability. RampUp also works with local employers to create a bridge between participants and potential positions and refers participants to companies at no cost.


Home for Special Families in Israel: The Ruderman Family Foundation partners with Kesher, the Home for Special Families in Israel, on three programs. The first, “Parents Building Community”, which fosters a sense of solidarity among families of children with special needs, functions both as a support group and a lobbying body aimed at impacting local policy surrounding disabilities. The second initiative, “National Network of Parent-Led Communities” is an extension of Parents Building Community. Parents from all Kesher communities meet six times a year to address relevant topics such as lobbying, fundraising, and training for community facilitators. Finally, the “National Sibling Network” unites and provides a support group for young adults who have siblings with disabilities. The sibling community is also part of the Foundation’s LINK20 network.

Lappin Foundation

  • Inclusion of Teens with Disabilities in Youth to Israel Adventure: Thanks to the partnership of the Lappin Foundation and the Ruderman Family Foundation, youth with disabilities are participating in the Youth to Israel Adventure. This Israel experience for teens includes a two-week trip to Israel, as well as pre and post-trip programming for youth with and without disabilities. For more information about this exciting trip, please visit: http://y2i.org

Massachusetts General Hospital and the Lurie Center

Autism Care Collaborative Project: The Autism Care Collaborative Project (ACCP) is building capacity across Massachusetts General Hospital to address the health care needs of individuals with autism across their lifespan. Mass. General is working to ensure its healthcare services are fully accessible and responsive to the needs of individuals with autism and to develop a pilot program as a model for hospitals and other health care providers nationally. Through a partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, this project has resulted in informational videos and in-person training for hospital staff. As well as expanded patient Behavior Support Plans and in-take questionnaires, and the hiring of the Autism Navigator, who is directly involved in the care of patients with autism and their families. To learn more about this program, please go to: http://www.massgeneral.org/children/services/treatmentprograms.aspx?id=1614

Ministry of Labor and Welfare of Israel, Meitav Dash, and Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)-Tevet

EsekShaveh – Equal Business: Equal Business is an innovative program, which aims to promote professional and higher education employment of people with disabilities in the business sector. Equal Business guides employers and human resource directors of large companies in implementing regulations to expand employee rights for people with disabilities. The program operates in three different circles. 1.) Work with organizations, providing knowledge and tools for recruiting and employing people with disabilities. 2.) Building a network of committed employers. 3.) Extensive activity in public discourse to increase awareness of the importance of employing people with disabilities in quality and professional employment. Equal Business is a tri-sector collaboration of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, Meitav Dash, JDC- Tevet, and the Ruderman Family Foundation.

National Ramah Commission

Inclusion Initiative: In 2015, the Ruderman Family Foundation partnered with the National Ramah Commission to promote inclusion within Ramah camps across the country. This initiative supports vocational education programming, including training of camp staff, at four Ramah overnight camps.  Through the partnership, Ramah has also established new programs at two additional Ramah overnight camps.  These programs provide a range of camping experiences to children with diverse disabilities.

New England Yachad

Youth Engagement: The Ruderman Family Foundation partnered with New England Yachad in 2013 to expand inclusive volunteer leadership opportunities for youth. This program includes the creation of Yachad high school clubs, a youth leadership board, and a Jewish Youth Group network. Participants with and without disabilities attend shabbatons, leadership trainings and club meetings. To learn more about upcoming events and previous events, please visit: https://www.yachad.org/newengland

Northeastern University

The Morton E. Ruderman Memorial Lecture Series and Ruderman Scholarship In Jewish Studies: The Ruderman Family Foundation is proud to work with Northeastern University on two important initiatives to support its Jewish Studies program: The Morton E. Ruderman Memorial Lecture Series and the Ruderman Scholarship in Jewish Studies. The lecture series offers a remarkable opportunity for Jewish Studies students, and the community at large, to engage with a famous, world-class leader through a public talk. As part of the Ruderman Scholarship in Jewish Studies, the Jewish Studies program holds a competition for naming the Ruderman scholar(s) and an award goes to one or two students of Jewish Studies each year. This competition incentivizes students to declare a minor in Jewish Studies, brings visibility to the program, and rewards the finest students. Both the Lectureship and Scholarship programs honor the memory of Northeastern alumnus Morton E. Ruderman, and his commitment to teaching about Jews and Judaism at Northeastern, and to bringing visibility and added prestige to the Jewish Studies program. For more information about these programs, please go to the Northeastern Jewish Studies website at: https://www.northeastern.edu/cssh/jewishstudies

Ted Arison Family Foundation

Municipal Accessibility Index: The 2016 Municipal Accessibility Index is an initiative of the partnership between the Ruderman Family Foundation and the Ted Arison Family Foundation. The index raises the issue of inclusion of people with disabilities in the community in public discourse, increases awareness of rights for people with disabilities among the general population, and motivates local city authorities to improve residents’ quality of life. The accessibility index is based on the findings of two studies conducted by the Institute for Applied Psychology at IDC Herzliya and DAS International Institute. The studies investigated the degree of accessibility of services, public attitudes, and social involvement of people with disabilities in twenty cities around Israel. To learn more visit http://www.negishut.co/

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)

USCJ Ruderman Inclusion Action Community: The Ruderman Family Foundation partnered with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in 2015 to establish the USCJ Ruderman Inclusion Action Community, which aims to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities. Each year, up to 20 congregations from across North America receive expertise and consulting from the USCJ as they develop comprehensive visions and action plans on inclusion.  For more information, please visit https://uscj.org/leadership/ruderman-inclusion-action-community#about

University of Delaware, National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities

Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion: In 2015, RFF partnered with the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities to offer the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion. This Institute enables leaders from Jewish organizations across the country to advance the agenda of inclusion throughout their organizations.  Participants learn from the renowned faculty of national experts on disability inclusion and supports.  They also gain a solid understanding of the value of inclusion and build a network of some of the most influential leaders in the field.  For more information, please visit: http://www.nlcdd.org/jli.html

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