Ruderman Fellows begin exploration of Jewry in US

Members of Israeli Knesset to have town hall meeting with students on Monday, April 4

Inaugural Ruderman Fellows group includes, standing from left, Daniel Ben Simon, Eitan Cabel, Jay Ruderman and Avi Dichter; seated,, Ronit Tirosh, left, and Tzipi Hotovely.

Six members of the Israeli Knesset will be at Brandeis beginning on Sunday, April 3, as part of the new Ruderman Fellows Program, a partnership between the university and the Ruderman Family Foundation designed to inform Israeli political leaders about the American Jewish community.

A recent poll commissioned by the Ruderman Foundation showed that 82 percent of Israelis supported the need to educate Israeli political leaders about the American Jewish community. The poll also found that 65 percent of Israelis endorse American support for democracy movements in Arab countries.

"For more than seven decades, the relationship between American Jews and Israel has been shaped from the American end," said Jay Ruderman '88, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. "As I got to know ministers and members of the Knesset, I saw the need to educate them about the American Jewish diaspora. 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."

The inaugural class of six Ruderman Fellows represents a spectrum of Israeli political leadership and includes members of the next generation of political leaders in Israel - Avi Dichter and Ronit Tirosh of the Kadima party, Tzipi Hotovely and Carmel Shama of Likud and Eitan Cabel and Danny Ben Simon of Labor.

The Ruderman Fellows Program grew out of discussions between Ruderman and Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History.

While in Waltham, the Ruderman Fellows will participate in sessions with several Brandeis scholars, including Sarna, Leonard Saxe, the Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and chair of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program and Ilan Troen '64, the Karl, Harry and Helen Stoll Professor of Israel Studies and director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

At 7: 30 p.m. on April 4, the six Knesset members will appear together in a town hall-style meeting at Brandeis. The event will be held in the Levin Ballroom at the Usdan Student Center.

At meetings in Waltham, Boston and New York, the Ruderman Fellows will also meet leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federations of North America, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; representatives from the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams; and officials from various Jewish federations, philanthropies, educational institutions, and media.

Categories: International Affairs

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage