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 Leadership Briefing 
The Jewish Federations of North America - The Strength of a People. The Power of Community.

Federations, Ruderman Foundation Launch Pioneering Disability Initiative
October 2, 2013

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Ruderman Family Foundation are launching a groundbreaking initiative to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community. The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative will place young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at JFNA and five Federations nationwide.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Ruderman Family Foundation are launching a groundbreaking initiative to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community. The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative, starting in 2014, will place young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at five Federations across the country, as well as in JFNA’s Washington office.

The internships will not only provide young adults with disabilities with meaningful employment opportunities and career training, but will fill staff needs at Federations and further a culture of workplace inclusion.

“We believe that this initiative, in collaboration with JFNA, will help change the culture in our Jewish institutions by making them more inclusive,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “By making people with disabilities more visible, we will raise awareness of the importance of inclusion, thus strengthening the Jewish community and benefitting us all.”

This landmark project, to inspire greater disability inclusion by Federations and other Jewish organizations, is being made possible thanks to a generous grant by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“Our core Jewish values compel us to further embrace and include people with disabilities in our community,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America. “The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative offers Federations an inspiring and critically important opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.”

The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative will begin with a one-year pilot. Five Federations will be selected from among the 16 Federations represented on JFNA’s Human Services & Public Policy Disability Committee to participate in the pilot, with the goal of including a wider pool of Federations should the pilot expand into a second year. 

Each of the five participating Federations will be asked to identify an employment opportunity that provides a meaningful employment and training experience.  Federations will also be asked to provide a workplace that can both accommodate individuals with a range disabilities and a work environment that promotes inclusion of all employees. 

Internships will be divided into three 16-18 week sessions, from January through April; May through August; and September through December.  Fellowships will last for 10 months, beginning in January.  The Federations participating and the individuals employed will ideally represent a cross-section of the Federation system, the disability community and the Jewish community.

Each Federation will select an intern or fellow through an equal opportunity employment search. Wages earned by interns and fellows will be provided jointly by the participating Federations and the Ruderman Family Foundation.

  

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