By Jay Ruderman
We want to welcome Ruthie Rotenberg who, as the new Director of Peer Networks for the Jewish Funders Network, is stepping into a key position for advancing disabilities awareness in the Jewish community.
As the Special Needs Peer Network gathers speed, Ruthie will be coordinating our efforts at bringing together funders with a shared vision: inclusion of those with disabilities in the heart of the Jewish community and Jewish future.
A Baltimore native, Ruthie comes to the JFN well prepared: With a master’s degree in Special Education from Hunter College and another in Public Policy (concentrating in Nonprofit Management) from Columbia, she recently returned from her year as a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem ready to put the concepts she learned about organizing in the Jewish community to good use.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the funders, and for me personally to be change-makers,” Ruthie told us recently. Having worked with children with special needs for many years, beginning in high school, she is determined to “make the SNPN a strong funder network for learning from – and inspiring– each other. If we do this right, working together we can move the issue of people with disabilities to the top of the Jewish agenda.”
Many of you who are funders met Ruthie and heard about her work in jump-starting the SNPN agenda at ADVANCE: The Ruderman Special Needs Funding Conference on December 6. “With funders gathering from around the country, a strong group of presenters and a series of round tables where people learned from each other, attendees emerged as more confident funders and advocates for this important issue in the Jewish community,” she says. ” The Network and the conference both send a powerful message that people with disabilities are part of our family, and we need to include them every step of the way.”
— Jay Ruderman