JERUSALEM--()--The Ruderman Family Foundation today announced the launch of the Ruderman Fellows Program in conjunction with Brandeis University. The aim of the program is to strengthen ties among Israeli political leaders and the American Jewish community at a time when most Israelis say that want their political leaders to have a better understanding of the U.S. as the country confronts new challenges in the Middle East.
“For more than 7 decades, the relationship between American Jews and Israel has been shaped from the American end”
The program, which begins on April 3 in Boston and ends on April 8 in New York City, follows a survey commissioned by the Foundation that found 82% support the need to educate Israeli political leaders about the American Jewish community. Other poll findings show that 65% of Israelis endorse American support for Democracy movements in Arab countries.
Six Members of The Knesset will travel to Boston and New York City to take part in the inaugural program, created by Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, in consultation with Brandies Professor of American Jewish History Jonathan D. Sarna. They are Avi Dichter and Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), Tzipi Hotovely and Carmel Shama (Likud), and Eitan Cabel and Danny Ben Simon (Labor).
The Ruderman Fellows Program Agenda
“For more than 7 decades, the relationship between American Jews and Israel has been shaped from the American end,” said Jay Ruderman, president of The Ruderman Family Foundation. “This program is designed to look at things from the Israeli perspective. As our survey data show, while Israelis share much in common with their American cousins – including support for the democratic movements in the Arab world -- they do not take the relationship for granted, and they are eager for their political leaders to have a deeper understanding of the attitudes and aspirations among American Jews.”
Among their activities, the Fellows will meet with scholars of Brandeis’s Hornstein Institute to discuss current research on the changing attitudes of American Jews toward Israel. In addition to meeting with a variety of Jewish community representatives in Boston, the Fellows will also participate in a town hall meeting with Brandeis students and visit a Jewish Day School. In New York City, the Fellows will meet with leaders from the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform universities as well as with communal and philanthropic leaders from several prominent organizations. A press briefing is planned for Friday morning, April 8.
The Ruderman Fellows were selected in cooperation with a special Advisory Committee that included Minister of Environmental protection Gilad Erdan (Likud), former Minister of Welfare Isaac Herzog (Labor), and former Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter (Kadima).
Further Ruderman Survey Data
As part of preparation for the launch of the Fellows Program, The Ruderman Family Foundation commissioned a survey of Israeli attitudes toward American Jews. The poll was conducted by the Tel Aviv-based firm Teleseker among 500 online respondents between Date and Date. Among its findings:
- 87% of Israelis believe that the American Jewish community is vital to Israel's security and political existence.
- 82% of Israelis support the need to educate Israeli MK's about the American Jewish community
- 73% of Israelis believe there is much to be learned from the religious pluralism practiced in the American Jewish community.
- 65% of Israelis endorse American support for the democratic movements in Arab countries.
A complete copy of the Ruderman/Teleseker Survey is available upon request.