American Jewish Studies Program

Our foundation has partnered with Haifa University to create the first ever American Jewish Studies program in Israel. This Master's program will teach Israeli students about the diversity and evolving US Jewish community, and its strategic importance to the future of Israel. As part of the program, students will travel to the US and spend time at NYU meeting fellow students and American Jewish leaders.

For more info, please see:

Strengthening the Bonds Between Israeli Leaders and the American Jewish Community

The Jewish people's need for insight into the American Jewish community among Israeli leaders

For decades, the American Jewish Diaspora supported Israel as advocates and funders. Now, as both Israel and the United States rapidly evolve, that relationship is changing, too. Efforts abound to help Americans understand and support contemporary Israel, but Israeli leaders have few resources for gaining strategic insight into the changing American Jewish community and how it may affect Israel's future.

The Israel-U.S. solution

Deeper understanding between Israel and the American Jewish Diaspora is essential to a fair and flourishing Jewish community - and is of strategic importance to Israel. Engaging Israeli Knesset (parliament) members from across the Israeli political spectrum in nuanced discovery of the American Jewish community can bring that understanding into the Israeli public dialogue.

The innovative Ruderman Family Foundation approach

The Ruderman Family Foundation fosters strategic insight into the evolving American Jewish community among Israeli leaders. The trailblazing Ruderman Fellows Program, launched in 2010, selects a cohort of Israeli Knesset (parliament) members from across the Israeli political spectrum, convening them for concentrated learning with top U.S. community leaders and activists that culminates in an intensive week of briefings in Boston and New York City. This added expertise enhances the Ruderman Fellows' Knesset work with colleagues and constituents.

2014 Knesset Caucus & Fellows Program

On June 18, 2013 Knesset member Nachman Shai (Labor) launch a Knesset caucus on the issue of Israel-US Jewry relations, with the foundation's support. Please read more here. The 2013 Ruderman Fellows Advisory Board includes: Minister Silvan Shalom, Minister Moshe Yaalon, MK Ilan Gilon, Deputy Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, MK Ayelet Shaked.

Credits for all pictures: Yissachar Ruas. Credit for Shuli Mualem Refaeli: Shmuel Villian

The 2014 Knesset Fellows are (L-R):

  • Nachman Shai (Labor)
  • Shimon Solomon (Yesh Atid)
  • Dr. Shimon Ohayon (Likud- Yisrael Beiteinu)
  • Michal Rozin (Meretz)
  • Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi)
  • Itzik Shmuli (Labor)

The Knesset delegation is currently visiting Boston and New York to meet with community leaders. They are there to learn more about the diverse and evolving US Jewish community and how Israeli leaders and Diaspora Jewry can work together. For more information about the delegation:

Watch video of the Town Hall event at Northeastern University

Pictures of the mission can be viewed here.

In 2011 and 2012, our foundation, together with Brandeis University, ran an innovative program designed to strengthen the bonds of understanding and appreciation between Israeli leaders and the American Jewish community. The Ruderman Fellows program cultivated a deeper awareness of the vibrancy of American Jewish life by engaging members of Knesset with top community leaders and activists during an intensive week of meetings and briefings in Boston and New York. Encouraging candid discussions regarding priorities, sensibilities and perspectives within American Jewry, the program also explored contemporary and future trends affecting both Israel and the entire Jewish world.

The 2012 Ruderman Fellows

  • MK Ofir Akunis (Likud)
  • MK Leah Shemtov (Yisrael Beteinu)
  • MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz)
  • MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beitenu)
  • MK Raleb Majadele (Labor)

The 2011 Ruderman Fellows

  • MK Carmel Shama (Likud)
  • MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud)
  • MK Avi Dichter (Kadima)
  • MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima)
  • MK Eitan Cabel (Labor)
  • Daniel Ben Simon (Labor)

The Ruderman Fellows Advisory Board

Past members include: Former Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter (Kadima), who headed the 2011 Ruderman delegation; Minister for Environmental Protection GiladErdan (Likud); Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon (Yisrael Beitenu) and Former Minister of Social Welfare Isaac Herzog (Labor).

The Fellows program is fully committed to enhancing the horizons and capabilities of Israeli leaders, while also continuing to strengthen the special relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community.

*Reprinted with permission of The Jewish Advocate. To subscribe, visit