SOURCE: Ruderman Family Foundation

Ruderman Family Foundation

April 08, 2016 18:26 ET

Ruderman Foundation Brings Israeli Parliament Members to US to Meet with Jewish Leadership Amid Turbulent Relationship

Ruderman Knesset Mission Arranges Top-Level Sessions and Meetings Between Israeli Elected Officials and American Leaders to Educate Them About the American Jewish Community and Strengthen Relations

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - April 08, 2016) - The Ruderman Family Foundation, a Boston-based organization focused on strengthening the relations between Israel and the American Jewish Community and dedicated to disability inclusion, is bringing six Israeli Members of the Knesset (MK) to the US to meet with American Jewish leadership and US government officials in an attempt to educate the politicians on American Jewry amid the relationships' unpredictable future.

Through April 10-14, the MK's will visit New York and Boston for a series of sessions and meetings with leaders, philanthropists, elected officials, students and the greater Jewish public to learn about a wide array of issues and concerns facing the American Jewish community and to strengthen the relationship between the two countries moving forward.

It has been well reported that the relationship between the State of Israel and the American Jewish community is in flux and faced with many challenges, highlighted by recent controversy surrounding the new egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall that the Israeli government initially passed and then delayed.

High profile instances include Tourism Minister Yariv Levin stating that, "Reform Jews in the US are a dying world," and Israel's Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee Moshe Gafni, labelling Reform Jews as "clowns". Despite government proposals put in place to rebuild relationships, its own cabinet appears to be destabilizing any progress being made.

"We have found that the Ruderman Knesset Fellows Missions have enhanced the understanding of the American Jewish community for dozens of members of Knesset," said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. "The American Jewish community is vital to the security of Israel, yet few members of Knesset really understand the pluralism and changing connection of American Jews to Israel. We believe our missions are helping to improve this understanding."

Next Monday, April 11, the MK's will meet with the leadership from the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements to hear their concerns and attempt to mend recent unrest. They will also hear from US students on college campuses later in the day about the increasing anti-Israel sentiment in higher education institutions, along with meeting with New York State Congressman Eliot Engel (D) and Congresswoman Lee Zeldin (R).

On Tuesday evening, the Israeli officials will head to Boston for a series of additional meetings, including a sit down with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday and a Town Hall event with the MK's and former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, regarded as one of the most powerful women to ever serve in Israeli politics, to discuss 'how to keep Israel a secure Jewish and democratic state,' as well as a wide range of issues facing Israel-US relations.

"The Town Hall Event will provide our community with the opportunity to hear first-hand how Israeli leaders from different political perspectives view Israel's challenges and our connection to them," Ruderman continued.

The Israeli MK delegation consists of: MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union), MK Dr. Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), MK Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu), MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), MK Dr. Avraham Neguise (Likud) and MK Michal Biran (Zionist Union).

Some events will be open to the media and be on the record.

About the Ruderman Family Foundation:

The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.

Guided by our Jewish values, we support effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy in our core areas of interest: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the Jewish community; fostering a more nuanced understanding of the American Jewish community among Israeli leaders; and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.

The Foundation provides funding, leadership, expertise and insight in both the U.S. and Israel, with offices in both countries. For more information: www.rudermanfoundation.org

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