Rose Ruderman: The Grandmother Who Taught Us the Meaning of Mensch

By Jay Ruderman

For me, my brother and sister and our cousins, the person who taught us to be a mensch was my bubbe (grandmother). This modest woman from Malden, Massachusetts played a huge role in our lives. I watched as she, no longer young herself, would do everything in her power to help the neighbor who was down on her luck, the fellow congregant who needed a hand and, of course, she would do anything for her children, grandchildren and extended family.

Now as my wife and I raise our own three children, I think often about my bubbe and how the way she lived her life can help us understand how best to guide them so they will be that kind of person who knows they have to give back. That this is life’s greatest joy and it should be an important part of one’s identity.

That‘s why my family has created the Rose Ruderman Scholarship. Now in its fourth year, the scholarship recognizes one child from the graduating class of each of the seven Orthodox day schools in Boston, where my Bubbe was born, raised and lived her life.

But, unlike other scholarships, this one doesn’t reward academic excellence, athletic prowess or sky-high SATs. It rewards the more fundamental but often unrecognized qualities of kindness and giving back. By validating students who excel in these qualities we not only encourage others to pursue them but we honor our bubbe in ways she would certainly have approved of: helping these wonderful young people take the next step along their educational journey.

On behalf of my entire family, I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners, to be honored at a ceremony in Boston May 22:

Yehuda Blank: Shaloh House Day School

Eliezer Markson: New England Hebrew Academy

Atalia Ramelson: Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon

Batsheva Hollander: Bais Yaakov

Meir Naiman: Mesivta High School

Devorah Sack: Torah Academy

Yonatan Nouriel: Maimonides School.


—  Jay Ruderman


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