Ruderman foundation partners with Chabad in $1 million inclusion initiative

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Ruderman Family Foundation has established a $1 million partnership with Chabad-Lubavitch to promote a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities.

The grant is the largest made by the foundation to a religious organization, the foundation said in a statement Tuesday.

“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,” Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said in a statement.

The grant will be used to develop programming introducing strategic initiatives for the inclusion of people with disabilities from early childhood to adult. The initiative will offer internships to train post-seminary students and camp counselors on best practices on inclusion and will be tried out in 25 select Jewish communities, according to the foundation.

Ruderman said the new partnership “will bring the message of disability inclusion to Jews everywhere.” He noted that the Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, “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 program’s director, Dr. Sarah Kranz-Ciment, said in the statement that the initiative “will change mindsets across the globe and help shape communities where everyone is welcome.”