Source: Ruderman Fellows Program
The Ruderman Family Foundation, together with Brandeis University, is launching a new program designed to strengthen the bonds of understanding and appreciation between Israeli leaders and the American Jewish community. The Ruderman Fellows Program will cultivate a deeper awareness of the vibrancy of American Jewish life by engaging Israeli political leaders with U.S.-based scholars, community leaders, and professionals. In partnership with Brandeis, the Ruderman Fellows will get to know esteemed opinion makers and experts, as well as lay leaders, to understand contemporary and future trends affecting Israel and the Jewish world.
Six Members of Knesset have been selected to attend the program’s inaugural seminar on April 3 - 8, 2011 in Boston and New York. Participants include Deputy Speaker MK Carmel Shama and MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), MK Avi Dichter and MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), and MK Eitan Cabel and Daniel Ben Simon (Labor). The leaders participating in the program represent three significant factions in the Knesset and the next generation of political leadership in Israel.
Each day of the five-day trip has a different theme, including “Understanding the American Jewish Community,” “How the Case for Israel is Made in the US” and “American Jewry’s Next Generation.” In addition, the MKs will hold informational meetings with top Jewish communal leaders such as Anti- Defamation League director Abe Foxman; American Israel Public Affairs Committee Executive Director Howard Kohr; Jewish Federations of North America President and CEO Jerry Silverman; American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger; American Joint Distribution Committee CEO and Executive Vice President Steven Schwager; and Jewish Funders Network President Rabbi Mark Charendoff.
In addition to learning the structure of the organized Jewish community, the program’s participants will receive detailed analyses from scholars and professors at Brandeis University, among others. Jewish journalists and students will also meet with the Ruderman Fellows.
By learning more about the American Jewish community, the program developers hope Knesset members will come to better appreciate how their actions -- such as Knesset efforts to legally define Jewishness for the purposes of marriage or aliyah, Israel’s military actions and how the Foreign Ministry reacts to democratic uprisings in the Arab world -- impact upon American Jews and Jews worldwide.