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JFNA Briefing: Five Federations Selected for Groundbreaking Disability Employment Initiative

Meredith Polsky
Five Federations Selected for Groundbreaking Disability Employment Initiative
January 28, 2014
After years of working to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the community and workplace, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) are joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to place young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at five Federations across the country, as well as in JFNA’s Washington office.

Through the Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative, each of the five federations will lead its own search to fill positions specially designed for their individual offices. In addition to JFNA’s Washington office, the following federations have been selected to participate in this groundbreaking new initiative: The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; the Minneapolis Jewish Federation; and UJA-Federation of New York.

“This initiative, in collaboration with JFNA, will provide an outstanding opportunity to promote inclusion and diversity in our Jewish institutions,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Each of these five federations along with JFNA has a clear vision for how they can best develop a culture of inclusion in their organization through providing this opportunity to people with disabilities, and we look forward to working alongside them to make this program a reality.”

This landmark project, which aims to inspire greater inclusion of people with disabilities in Jewish communities and to make federations and other Jewish organizations models of inclusion in their communities, is being made possible thanks to a generous grant by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“Over the past weeks and months, the discussion of how to best focus our communities on inclusion has grown stronger, and we have been proud to be a leading voice in this conversation,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA.

“The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative offers federations an inspiring and critically important opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and in the way our federations and their communities view the issue of inclusion. This is a pilot project that we are confident will turn into a culture shift for work and inclusion across the spectrum of Jewish experiences. We are excited to work alongside these five outstanding federations, and I have no doubt that they will play a key role in raising awareness of the importance of inclusion and strengthening the Jewish community at large.”

The Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative will begin with a one-year pilot in 2014. The five participating federations were selected from among the 16 federations represented on JFNA’s Human Services & Public Policy Disability Committee, with the goal of refining a program model that could be implemented at more federations after 2014.

Each of the five participating federations has identified an opportunity that provides a meaningful employment and career training experience. Each federation will provide a workplace that can both accommodate individuals with a range of disabilities and a work environment that promotes inclusion of all employees, and each federation will select an intern or fellow through an equal opportunity employment search.

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