Tag Archives: Mort Ruderman

Inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion Announced

Dr. Michael Ashley Stein, internationally acclaimed expert on disabilities, is first recipient of $100,000 Award from Ruderman Family Foundation

final logoBoston – In continuing its commitment to and advocacy for inclusion of people with disabilities into society, the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) announced today that it will award the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to Dr. Michael Stein, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. The award recognizes an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public. The $100,000 award is based on past achievements and the potential for future contributions to the field.

A three-person Nominating Committee identified a highly selective pool of candidates to recommend. The Trustees of the Ruderman Family Foundation made the final selection of Dr. Stein.

“Our foundation decided to establish an award in my father’s name to remember his values and work which has touched so many lives,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Those who knew my father agree that what drove his interest in disability inclusion was a bedrock commitment to fairness: he fervently believed that people with disabilities were not getting a fair shake in the Jewish community or in society at large. It was his belief that everyone deserves to be treated fairly that has inspired our mission to work toward the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our community.  We are honored to name Michael Stein as the first recipient of the Morton E. Ruderman Award because his life’s work encompasses the values my father believed in.  I know that my father would have liked him.”

Michael SteinMichael Stein is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD). An internationally recognized expert on disability rights, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and actively consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies. Stein has also acted as legal counsel to Rehabilitation International, Disabled Peoples’ International and to Special Olympics International. He works with organizations fighting for disability rights around the world and advises a number of United Nations bodies, such as UNDESA, UNICEF, and UNOHCHR, as well as individual national human rights institutions.

“I am deeply honored to receive the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award for Inclusion and will work very hard to uphold the values expressed by Mr. Ruderman, the Ruderman family, and the foundation,” said Dr. Stein. “HPOD has been privileged to serve people with disabilities and their representative organizations in some forty countries, and I have been personally inspired, humbled, and energized by working with these advocates.”

Mort E. RudermanThe Award was named after Mort Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. Morton E. Ruderman was a successful entrepreneur, mentor and proud family man.  He saw his success as the result of help he received from others and was therefore passionate about providing opportunities for others – including assisting many people in becoming independent and successful in business.

The work of the foundation addresses Mort’s view that the exclusion of persons with disabilities and absence from Jewish life is fundamentally unfair. The primary consideration for the award is whether the recipient’s work has made life more equitable for people with disabilities.

“It is a privilege and joy to work with Dr. Michael Stein. His blend of wisdom, humanity, determination and wit is without parallel. It is absolutely inspiring to see him in action – bringing his immense G-d given talents to bear as he works tirelessly, with brilliance, compassion and humility, to improve the lives of others and to make the world better for all of us,” said Harvard Law School Professor and Vice Dean William Alford who chairs HPOD.

“Michael Stein’s work in disability law has been truly groundbreaking,” said Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School. “Since co-founding HOPD as a global disability and policy center, he has influenced agencies and governments around the world, including the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recently relied extensively on his arguments in a landmark decision on the voting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. He is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”

This award joins other signature programs of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.

“Inspiring leaders can strengthen an entire community by valuing each person’s contributions. My father was one such leader; now the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion honors his legacy by celebrating one outstanding leader whose lifetime achievements inspire others towards greater inclusion,” said Jay Ruderman.

We welcome you to share this news on Twitter- please be sure to tag the foundation- @RudermanFdn– and use the hashtag #InAward

Read our recent interview with Michael


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Community/Foundation Partnership Opens Options for Boston Day School Students with Special Learning Needs

Guest Blogger Alan Oliff, Director, Initiative for Day School Excellence,  Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston

While the development of inclusive, high-quality Jewish day schools may appear to be a logical consequence of Jewish values and teachings, in reality it has been more challenging than one might think.  For too many years students with special learning needs have been underserved (or excluded) in our day schools and other Jewish educational programs.

But, in the Boston area, a convergence of family advocacy, professional dedication, community commitment and the visionary leadership of certain philanthropists has resulted in some profound changes, a sea change now occurring in Jewish education.

One of these visionary leaders was Mort Ruderman (z’l) who stands out as a philanthropist whose legacy of goodness, humility, and passionate support for people with disabilities has created transformational changes in Boston and continues to live on in so many ways.  The commitment to special education and inclusion exhibited by the Jewish day schools in Greater Boston and championed by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ (CJP) Initiative for Day School Excellence are powerful examples of Mort’s legacy.

It’s been six years since the birth of the Special Needs Initiative, which was created through a partnership between the Ruderman Family Foundation, CJP, Gateways (a regional Jewish special needs support agency),  and Boston-area day schools.  Without the critical input and support from the Rudermans, the Initiative’s work to support each school’s ability to serve a wide array of learners with challenges – as well as the palpable shifts toward inclusion that have taken place — would simply not have occurred.

CJP’s Day School Initiative focuses on Access as one of its four day school agenda “pillars” (the others are Excellence, Advocacy, and Affordability).  Schools cannot be truly excellent academic institutions if they are not also committed to accessibility to a full range of learners.  To highlight this view CJP’s Special Education Advisory Committee, led by volunteers with a broad range of day school and special education experience, developed a CJP vision statement.  This statement, titled “Community Vision for Serving Students with Special Needs in Greater-Boston’s Jewish Day Schools,” has been widely circulated to send the clear message that including atypical learners is a value that Boston’s Jewish day school communities believe in, support and will strive to achieve.

There are a number of projects currently in process that will go a long way toward making the community vision for serving students with special needs in Boston a true reality.  For example CJP’s partnership with the Ruderman Foundation has led to day school “Partnership grants” and “Sustainability grants”—both programs aimed at strengthening and deepening our schools’ abilities to serve an ever broadening spectrum of learners.  Four Boston area schools have established a solid special needs infrastructure which has paved the way for them to develop more sophistication in the way they serve students.  The Partnership Grants will enable them to create an expanded set of options for students with learning needs and improve the quality of services being offered.  Five Boston area day schools continue their work after building a basic special education program service delivery system.  These schools have qualified for Sustainability Grants which will ensure that the program improvements they have made will not be lost.

So Mort’s legacy continues and grows today.  Now under the leadership of Jay Ruderman, Sharon Shapiro and the Ruderman Family Foundation, the vision is expanding.  Funders from throughout the Jewish community are coming together in support of new initiatives in different locations (in the U.S. and Israel).  It is remarkable how the passion and generosity of one man and a family foundation can spur on so many good things in the Jewish community.

— Alan Oliff

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Morton E. Ruderman, 75, MEDITECH Co-Founder, Developer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Morton E. Ruderman, of Boca Raton, FL, who co-founded global health care technology firm MEDITECH, and who later became one of the Jewish community’s leading philanthropists, passed away Wednesday at age 75 after a lengthy illness. His charitable endeavors included the endowment of a Jewish Studies chair at Northeastern University and the creation of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which is focused on the issues of disability and continuity in the Jewish community.

Mort, as he was known by many, was born and raised in Malden and graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in electrical engineering.  After service in the Army as a second lieutenant, he became Digital Equipment Corporation’s first ever medical technology salesperson.  He founded MEDITECH with three other partners in 1969, and the company went on to enormous success.  Mort later founded Cres Development Company, a real estate development firm, and several other companies.  Mort became a mentor to many young business people, using his wisdom to help them launch their own ventures.  He viewed as his greatest achievement, however, the work he did to give back to a Jewish community that he believed gave him so much.

Philanthropy became his focus in his later years, as he and his wife Marcia, supported many causes in the community, particularly in organizations that helped people with disabilities and those less fortunate in society.  Their creation of the Ruderman Family Foundation provided a means to focus their philanthropy on innovative, new approaches to enabling Jewish people with disabilities to realize full inclusion in their community.

He leaves three children and ten grandchildren.  A funeral service was held in the Boston area Sunday, October 16.  The family will sit shiva beginning Saturday evening, Oct. 22, through Oct. 28. Donations may be made to the Alpha-1 Association and Gateways – Access to Jewish Education.

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