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Rose Ruderman Scholarship Award honors new generation of students for kindness, compassion

2017 Rose Ruderman Scholarship Award Winners (left to right): Ella Saks, Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon; Yisroel Hefter, Mesivta High School; Jay Ruderman; Liel Shkap, Torah Academy; Marcia Ruderman; Sharon Shapiro; Devorah Davydov, New England Hebrew Academy; Annika Tarlin, Bais Yaakov of Boston High; Hadassah Stanhill, Maimonides School. Photo by Irene Perlman

JULY 13, 2017 – Every year, the Ruderman family asks the staff of the seven area Orthodox day schools to select one outstanding student from their graduating class who contributes to the Jewish community by helping others. The student should exemplify the values of Rose Ruderman, a kind, compassionate person who consistently sought to improve the lives of friends, family, and members of her community.

The Rose Ruderman Schol­arship Award, now in its ninth year, is presented annually by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Combined Jewish Philanthropies in remembrance of Rose. The award grew out of a 10-year effort to boost Orthodox Jewish school education by the Ruderman family, who first established a need-based scholarship endowment in Rose’s name in 1999.

The $1,000 scholarship award – to be used toward future Jewish education – is presented to each student at a special ceremony.

“Rose was always doing for family, friends, and the community. She set a great example about the things that are most important in life,” says her granddaughter, Sharon Shapiro, who hosted the awards reception with her husband, Rony, at their home in Brookline. The Ruderman family, including Marcia Ruderman, Jay and Shira Ruderman, and several of Rose Ruderman’s great-grandchildren, attended the celebration along with community leaders, heads of school, family, and friends.

“This is an opportunity to be able to reflect upon my relationship with my grandmother and to be able to share her special traits,” said Sharon. “There is nothing more meaningful than to be able to see these traits in the recipients. This is a special group of children and young adults who are being recognized for being good and decent people who try to help others.”

Alan Oliff, CJP’s director of Special Programs, said Rose would have been proud of all of the students who received the award given in her name. “They’re going to contribute to the world and they’re going to change the world,” he said. “These students exemplify the values that Rose embodied.”

After a welcome from Sharon Shapiro and remarks from CJP Executive Vice President Gil Preuss, awards were presented to each student by a leader from each school.

This year’s recipients include:

Liel Shkap (Torah Academy). Liel is committed to her family and involved in her community. A leader in the Malden community, Liel models tefilah, simcha, and a commitment to yiddishkeit.

Ella Saks (Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon). Ella is very involved in student council and is a founding member of the school’s Yachad club. Ella worked tirelessly (even during non-school hours) to help design and build the school’s new community garden. She helps out at home with her younger siblings and is always looking out for the younger students in school. She goes out of her way to play and make friends with them.

Esther Matsa (Shaloh House Jewish Day School). Esther has repeatedly demonstrated herself to be a shining example of a Bat Melech who exudes patience and generosity with her peers, superb knowledge of many areas of Judaism, and genuine respect toward her teachers and elders. She is a pleasure to have in the academic arena of the classroom and a good friend in the social scene on the playground.

Devorah Davydov (New England Hebrew Academy). Devorah, much like her two older siblings who received this distinction in previous years, possesses middos tovos, which she demonstrates toward young and old, inside and outside the academic setting. Devorah sends daily reminders for homework and assignment deadlines to classmates, amongst many kindnesses she does to help her friends; she is always respectful to her teachers and responsibly carries out everything that comes her way. While visiting the elderly with her peers, she volunteers to deliver holiday stories and messages in Russian to the Russian residents. She is loved by children to whom she so preciously relates, and entertains them in shul with a sparkle and enthusiasm, allowing mothers to daven. She is also a tremendous asset to her mother, baking, cooking, and paving the way for her younger siblings who look up to her.

Yisroel Hefter (Mesivta High School) – Yisroel is a stellar student both academically and socially. It’s Sruly who makes all the new students feel like they belong from the first moment they arrive at the school. Any rabbi or student who needs help knows that Sruly Hefter is the right person to ask.

Hadassah Stanhill (Maimonides School) – Hadassah’s devotion to the Jewish elderly of Brookline was epitomized through her leadership of the Maimonides “Adopt A Bubbe” Club. But, Hadassah took this commitment to the next level when she arranged for club members to spend their lunch break accompanying a local woman (the Bubbe of several Maimonides alumni) on walks through the neighborhood. In addition, Hadassah is the captain of the Maimonides Mock Trial Team, a member of the Maimonides School Girls Choir, a Maimonides School Ambassador and a leader of Bnei Akiva. She has a stellar academic record and will be attending Brandeis University after spending a gap year studying in Israel at the Stella K. Abraham Beit Midrash for Women, known colloquially as Migdal Oz.

Annika Tarlin (Bais Yaakov of Boston High) – In addition to being a diligent student with a rigorous schedule, Annika doesn’t just do chesed, she loves chesed. Annika always has time for chesed, translated as “loving-kindness.”
As Barry Shrage, President of CJP, noted, “I have deep admiration for all the award winners, for their commitment to social justice, and for the great hope they represent for the future of the Jewish people.”

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