The Ruderman Fellows Program, a new effort to educate Israeli members of Knesset about the American Jewish community, in partnership with Brandeis University, was launched this week.
The inaugural Ruderman Fellows Program will take place in Boston and New York from April 3-8 with MKs Avi Dichter and Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), Tzipi Hotovely and Carmel Shama (Likud), and Eitan Cabel and Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor).
According to a new Teleseker poll conducted last week on behalf of the Ruderman Foundation among 500 Israelis, 82% support the need to educate Israeli political leaders about the American Jewish community; with an overwhelming 87% viewing the community as vital to Israel’s security and political existence.
“This program is intended to cultivate a strong awareness and appreciation for the richness and vibrancy of American Jewish life,” explains Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation and founder of the Ruderman Fellows.
“Given the critical importance of the US-Israel relationship, especially in light of the fast-developing social and political changes in the Middle East, nothing could be more important at this time than working to streamline understanding and dialogue between Israeli and American Jewish leaders.”
Pointing to another key finding in last week’s poll that showed 73% of Israelis believe there is much to be learned from the religious pluralism of American Jewry, Ruderman noted that the Fellows Program will also introduce these Israeli political leaders “to the great diversity of opinion and pluralism that characterize the community.”
The Ruderman Fellows were selected in cooperation with a special Advisory Committee that included Minister of Environment Gilad Erdan (Likud), former Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor), and former Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter (Kadima).