2015 Ruderman Inclusion Summit

Boston, Massachusetts
Sunday, November 01, 2015

Learn more about our presenters and panelists before clicking on the I'M IN button below which will direct you to the Ruderman Inclusion Summit registration form. 

Dr. Jeff Lichtman
International Director

Prof. Hefziba Lifshitz 
Associate Professor
Bar Ilan University, School of Education

Why I’m IN? "Yachad's mission is to promote Inclusion, Because Everyone Belongs. When everyone is included, we have a stronger community for all, made richer by everyone's participation." 
Why I’m IN? "‘And your brother shall live with you’ (Lev. 25: 36) reflects the social model of disability in Jewish sources. This humanistic value is common to all participants of the Ruderman inclusion summit. That’s why I’m in." 
Michelle Maffeo
Boston Police Officer
Boston Police Department

Dafna Maor
Director of Labor Market Integration for People with Disabilities
Ministry of Economy

Why I’m IN? "Training for first responders is essential, but engaging this community regularly helps build trust and understanding that may be needed in an otherwise stressful situation." Why I’m IN? "I'm in because I believe that we can learn from each other and save time and effort by implementing best practices that were successful in other places. I also believe that by talking and discussing the issues together, we can find more ideas and solutions than on our own."

Dana Marlowe
Principal Partner
Accessibility Partners

Christine McCarthy
Executive Director of Human Resources
Legal Sea Foods
Why I’m IN? "I’m definitely IN because we need to get the message of inclusion OUT, starting with hiring more people with disabilities in our workplaces today."
Why I’m IN? "I am in because we are personally and professionally committed to people; our goal to be a first choice employer through cultivating a work environment in which all people are treated fairly, respectfully and play a role in the organizations success."

Mary Beth McMahon
Special Olympics Massachusetts

Sarah Meek
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Lutheran Services in America Disability Network
Why I’m IN? "I am in because I believe everyone can be part of their community, their school and their sports team because we all have abilities to share."
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because it’s important that faith-based organizations of every religion be leaders in inclusion efforts for all people with disabilities."

Rabbi Edie Mencher, LCSW
URJ Faculty for Sacred and Caring Community
Coordinator URJ Ruderman Initiative on Disabilities Inclusion
Union for Reform Judaism
URJ Ruderman Disabilities Inclusion Center

Robbie Mikels
Host and Food Runner
Why I’m IN? "I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn, share and grow with others committed to creating a Jewish community to which we all can contribute!"

Why I’m IN? "My goals are not unlike most people. I want a job I love, a place to come home to, and to live an independent life. Having the chance to share my story allows me to give back and help others realize the importance of hiring individuals of all abilities."

Ari Ne’eman
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Ann M Neumeyer, MD
Medical Director and Assistant Professor of Neurology
Lurie Center for Autism, Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Why I’m IN? "As a Jew and a person with a disability, I believe that true Tikkun Olam requires us to make accessibility and inclusion a basic and non-negotiable requirement of our communal life."
Why I’m IN? "I’m IN because I believe that we can improve the lives of individuals with disabilities by working and learning from each other."
Eric Niemi
Office Clerk
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Liz Offen, MS
Director, New England Yachad 
Yachad / The National Jewish Council for Disabilities
Why I’m IN? "My job means I contribute my knowledge, learn new skills, am part of a team, and can be more independent. Companies need to hire individuals for each person’s ability." Why I’m IN? "Inclusion is an obligation--not just an act of chesed/kindness but a mandate. Inclusion should always be at the epicenter of Jewish Communal life."


Alan Oliff
Director, Special Projects
Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Melanie Perkins McLaughlin
Producer / Director / Activist
Project Productions
Why I’m IN? "For too long individuals with disability have been excluded. The Summit can bring us together as a critical step in creating a world committed to a universal and authentic “sense of belonging” for all."
Why I’m IN? "I believe the disability rights movement is a civil / human rights movement. I want my daughter included and valued throughout her lifetime."

Amanda Pogany 
Head of School 
Luria Academy of Brooklyn

Arlene Remz
Why I’m IN? "I'm in because it's time for the Day School community to start saying YES to inclusion, and to create learning environments that support all students."
Why I’m IN? "Every Jewish student, regardless of ability, should have access to quality Jewish education and the opportunity to participate meaningfully in Jewish life."

Fernanda Rocha 
O Dom Especial de Ser Mãe

Diana Beth Samarasan
Founding Executive Director
Disability Rights Fund, Inc.
Disability Rights Advocacy Fund
Why I’m IN? "I'm in because I believe that inclusion decreases differences and gives the person the ability to live effectively and respectfully in the community."
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because inclusion is both the right and the smart thing to do."

Avital Sandler-Loeff 
Israel Unlimited JDC

Tom Sannicandro
State Representative Massachusetts Legislature
Chair, Joint Committee on Higher Education
Why I’m IN? "I'm in because my mission is to advance the belief that an inclusive community is a stronger community and that people with disabilities and people with abilities. This outstanding summit is the best platform to promote these concepts."
Why I’m IN? "It is critical that everyone is welcome and valued. All of our futures are at stake."

Heather L. Sedlacko
Director, Programs for Seniors and People with Disabilities
United Way of Allegheny

Jeremy Shapira
Sr. Director and HR Business Partner, Market District and GetGo
Giant Eagle
Why I’m IN? "People with disabilities want to work, can work and should work. Employment is an avenue to independence. The time is now. #IWanttoWork"
Why I’m IN? "Because this is extremely important work to be a part of."

Laura Shumaker
Disabilities Writer

Jo Ann Simons
Cardinal Cushing Centers
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because my autistic son hears “This is for everyone but you” every day, and I want that to stop."
Why I’m IN? "Inclusion is a civil rights issue and people with disabilities have waited too long for full access. The time for talk is over. It is time for action."

Dr. Brian Skotko
Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital

Michael Ashley Stein
Executive Director, Visiting Professor
Harvard Law School Project on Disability
Why I’m IN? "I'm IN because I am a better physician, researcher, and brother because of the people with disabilities who have taught me and inspired me."
Why I’m IN? "The Harvard Law School Project on Disability promotes the human rights of people with disabilities worldwide to develop fully equitable and inclusive societies."

Carol R. Steinberg, Esq.
Attorney, Solo Practitioner in Newton

Sue Swenson
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education
Why I’m IN? "Because I have a disability and because I have chosen to channel my feelings about the lack of inclusion and accessibility in society into advocating for changeby writing and speaking, by litigating, by being part of advocacy and governmental organizations, by lobbying for legislation and regulatory changes."
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because no matter how good our laws and federal programs are, inclusion starts with personal action in every community."

Maria Town
Associate Director for Public Engagement 
White House Office of Public Engagement

Robert O. Trestan
Regional Director
Anti-Defamation League
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because high expectations and inclusion across all aspects of life led me to a job at the White House. I want to make sure that all people with disabilities experience and inclusion and have the opportunity to fulfill their potential."
Why I’m IN? "Equality, justice and fair treatment for everyone leaves no room for exceptions. To be inclusive means we have a responsibility to protect and advocate for all."

Liz Weintraub
Advocacy Specialist 
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Chava Willig Levy 
Author of "A Life Not with Standing"
Chava Willig Levy
Why I’m IN? "I am in because I believe it's so very important to include all kinds of people, that is what we were taught so we should do the same." Why I’m IN? "I’m in because—like the Ruderman Family Foundation—I’m determined to shatter stereotypes about people with disabilities, enabling others to view disability with pride, not prejudice."
Elizabeth Zwick
Senior Program Officer
Ruderman Family Foundation
Why I’m IN? "I’m in because we need ALL of our talents to address the challenging issues facing our society and our species. We are much smarter together!"    


Click Here to learn more about our distinguished panelists and presenters.
Ruderman Family Foundation