Jewish tradition teaches that the world couldn't exist without acts of lovingkindness.
On Monday, June 1, seven students from Greater Boston's Orthodox Jewish day schools were recognized for their own acts of lovingkindness with the Rose Ruderman Scholar Award. These extraordinary young people are part of a new generation who are defining what it means to go above and beyond for their community, and to care for their family and faith.
Established 12 years ago by the Ruderman Family Foundation, The Rose Ruderman Scholar Award provides recipients with a $1,000 scholarship for their future Jewish education. For the Ruderman family, the scholarship is a meaningful way to honor their grandmother, Rose Ruderman (z”l), a woman who left a legacy of faith and service.
“Rose valued her Jewish faith, the importance of family, and helping those in need,” says granddaughter Sharon Shapiro, Trustee and Community Liaison of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Jay Ruderman, Trustee and President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, says of his grandmother: “I watched as she would do everything in her power to help the neighbor who was down on her luck, the fellow congregant who needed a hand and, of course, she would do anything for her children, grandchildren, and extended family.”
During the celebration, the students were honored for keeping Rose’s values alive.
“We typically see people being valued for being high-academic achievers, their athletic abilities, and leadership skills,” Sharon Shapiro said. “And although those qualities are important, those who receive The Rose Ruderman Scholarship Award must be something else: kind.”
The recipients include students in grades 5 through 12, and the Ruderman family celebrated them via Zoom, a change made necessary by the pandemic. Screens were filled with a slideshow of photos from Rose’s life, smiling faces of families and friends, and images celebrating the recipients. Day school leaders proudly shared examples of why these individual students were recognized.
Rachel Ostashinsky of Bais Yaakov of Boston
“Rachel’s passion and love of chesed (caring) propels her to accomplish so much for the school community and the larger Jewish community even as she carries an intense academic workload (and excels there as well) and somehow she keeps it up even under unusual circumstances!”
Natan Levin of Maimonides School
“Natan is a true mensch and Ben Torah who finds great satisfaction visiting the elderly through the Maimonides Adopt-a-Bubbe Club and has been committed to this project for three years. He is a student ambassador at Maimonides, a leader with B’nei Akiva in Newton, and volunteers for the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Family Table.”
Dovid Gluckin of Mesivta of Boston
“As a senior, Dovid's upbeat and positive personality set the tone for the Mesivta. As a good student and the life of the chevrah (school community), his peers and younger students look up to him as a role model they can aspire to be.”
Leibel Gold of New England Hebrew Academy
“Leibel Gold, the New England Hebrew Academy recipient of the Rose Ruderman Scholarship, is a highly intelligent and mature young man. His academic achievements are only surpassed by his sensitivity, especially to those who might be overlooked by others.”
Nadav Leibowitz of Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon
“Nadav is a gregarious, affable, and kind soul. Whether he is wearing mustache sunglasses, or a full green suit, he brings joy to every moment. And his joy is contagious. He always invites others to participate and makes sure to note that there is enough joy for everyone to partake. Nadav is deeply committed, and will work tirelessly, whether in school or extracurricular activities. He's never too busy to do the right thing.”
Aaron Bier of Torah Academy
“Aaron is always ready to help another. He made it his business to help new students feel comfortable and integrate in the class.”
Yoseph Feld of Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael (YOY)
“Yoseph is a kindhearted, good natured young man. He is always the first to volunteer to assist with a Minyan or anything associated with the running of the shul. His pleasant demeanor makes him an easy friend for all the students of YOY. Yoseph has been a regular member of the YOY Yachad Club and seeks ways to forge friendships with all people around him.”
Rabbi Marc Baker, President and CEO of CJP, paused to reflect on this moment in history. He also addressed the recipients: “Keep your eyes open, look for the good that needs to be done, and recognize that there’s work to do. Step up and say ‘I can be the person to do it!’ That’s the kind of person Rose Ruderman was and that’s the kind of person you will continue to emerge into. It’s clear that you are well on your way.”
To learn more about The Ruderman Family Foundation and their efforts to celebrate kindness and create a more inclusive and welcoming Jewish community, visit their website.