Newswise — Shira and Jay Ruderman were honored with a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, from the University of Haifa at a festive event on Tuesday, held as part of the University’s 43rd Meeting of the Board of Governors. The honor was bestowed upon the Rudermans in recognition of their visionary leadership for making those who are different and outsiders become accepted and mainstream and on their uncompromising investment in strengthening relations between American Jews and Israel. Through their philanthropic activity the couple, who head The Ruderman Family Foundation, have changed the reality of how people with disabilities are included in all aspects of life. The two also advocate the strategic relationship between American Jews and Israel. In this context the Foundation contributed to the establishment of an MA degree at the University of Haifa - the Ruderman Program for American-Jewish Studies, the only program of its kind in Israel. President of the University of Haifa, Mr. Amos Shapira noted the couple's groundbreaking and important initiatives: "Jay and Shira constantly strive in their actions to bring about a change in reality and create a better society. For this we believe they are worthy of the highest honor that the University awards – the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa”.

“The Ruderman Family Foundation is proud of our partnership with the University of Haifa in creating the only academic program in Israel focused on the American Jewish community. This partnership is an active one and our appreciation of the work and dedication of President Amos Shapira and Professor Gur Alroey to promoting understanding of the American Jewish community in Israeli society grows each day. We are honored that the University of Haifa has chosen to recognize our joint pioneering work by bestowing an honorary doctorate on Jay and me”, said Shira Ruderman, who accepted the honor also on behalf of Jay, in her acceptance speech.

Along with Jay and Shira Ruderman, six other people received the honorary degree: Prof. Robert (Uri) Alter, in recognition of his achievements in the study of comparative literature in general, and translating the Hebrew Bible into English; Prof. Carol Padden, in recognition of her pioneering and ongoing contribution to the study of sign language, to understanding the culture of deaf people, and to the study of the nature and development of human language and for inspiring us through her achievements as a person and as a deaf woman – achievements that are praiseworthy for recognizing that departures from the usual are not handicaps; Felix Posen, in recognition of his great contribution to strengthening Jewish culture and on his contribution to the fight against anti-Semitism; Orna Porat, In recognition of her great contribution to the shaping of Israeli culture and her contribution to educating youth to imagination, vision, tolerance and creativity; Noah Klieger, In recognition of his investment and effort to instill memory of the Holocaust, especially among the younger generation and leaders in Israel and abroad and his professional achievements in the field of journalism in general and sports journalism in particular.

Register for reporter access to contact details