Short film series explores the intersection of disability and prayer in the Jewish community
Los Angeles, April 19, 2021 – Barry Shore, the Ambassador of JOY of who is a former quadriplegic, stars in his own segment of “What Do You Pray For?” The film was made by Ben Rosloff, a talented emerging filmmaker on the Autism spectrum who serves as a Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program.
”What Do You Pray For?” is a series of short interviews of Jews with disabilities who tell viewers in their own words what they pray for and what prayer means to them. The project features Jews with various disabilities from across the United States, with a myriad of different connections to their Jewish identity.
The series focuses on the universal nature and themes of prayer, as well as the hopes and dreams of people with disabilities. The interviews reveal the need for inclusion and a connection to the community. All interviewees provided valuable insights on their disability experience, understanding it to be an integral part of themselves, presenting challenges and opportunities.
The Ambassador of JOY, Barry Shore is a member of the National Disability Speakers Bureau at RespectAbility. He also is a change maker and life transformer whose profound message of JOY is being embraced globally. A successful serial entrepreneur with two multi-million dollar exits and 3 issued patents, Barry acquired a disability that left him completely paralyzed overnight. Barry’s decision to use this experience to better his life and the lives of others has opened a unique opportunity to find JOY in living regardless of circumstance.
Barry’s Keep Smiling movement has distributed over two million “Keep Smiling” cards for free to all. His podcast, The JOY of Living, is heard worldwide with over two million downloads. Barry founded the JOY of Living Institute™, helping thousands of people learn to live in JOY every day. Barry is a charismatic, JOY-contagious speaker who captivates audiences and elevates them to a new level of extraordinary.
In the process of recovering from full paralysis Barry has become an avid swimmer and now swims two miles a day, six days a week. He has accumulated more than 8,021 miles over 12 years. Embraced by numerous major media outlets and many well-known celebrities, Barry is a must-listen to speaker for your event.
A transcript of the film is below:
Benjamin Rosloff: My name is Benjamin Rosloff, and I am a filmmaker, editor, and storyteller. And I am living with autism. There are different types of prayers; prayers that praise God, prayers that thank God, prayers that ask for forgiveness, and prayers that ask God for something. There are prayers that are memorized that we recite or sing to familiar melodies. Asking questions is how we learn about people’s hopes and dreams and what kind of world they want to live in.
Hello, this is Barry Shore. He’s an ambassador of joy, a former quadriplegic, and a successful serial entrepreneur, and I want to thank you for letting me interview you today.
Barry Shore: Now how can I make the categorical statement that everybody watching is good-looking? Because by definition, if you tuned into this particular show that Ben has made possible, you’re always looking for and finding the good.
Rosloff: Do you pray?
Shore: Yes, regularly.
Rosloff: Do you recite prayers that you have learned or memorized, or do you have personal prayers?
Shore: There are certain things that I’ve learned, and then we always sprinkle in the personal, because God loves the personal.
Rosloff: Is your disability something you refer to in your prayers?
Shore: Yes, often. I was in the hospital completely totally paralyzed, and I was like that for many years, but now I understand that this is a gift that was given to me to enabled me to have a closer relationship with a creator of the world with my family, friends, and myself.
Rosloff: How does praying make you feel?
Shore: Wonderful, and live, and exuberant, because I have chosen to be happy. Often times, I don’t just sit there or stand there, I sometimes move around, I sing, I dance in my own particular way. I become “a livened” by the idea, and by the process of prayer.
Rosloff: Do you think people with disabilities prayers are different than prayers of non-disabled people?
Shore: I’ve been in both situations; I was 55 years old before I became completely paralyzed for a number of years. So, I have the perspective of both, and I can tell you that the prayers are not different, and yet there is a difference when you are challenged. And until you get to the point where you’ve recognized that it’s a gift that’s been granted to you that not everybody has until that point, you will be different.
Rosloff: What do you pray for?
Shore: I pray for the revelation that all beings fulfill their potential, and live-in joy, happiness, peace, and love.
Rosloff: Judaism encourages questions. It is how we learn, how we grow, and how we gain an understanding of ourselves, and our relationship to God.
The individuals featured in the “What Do You Pray For” series include:
- Erika Abbott: Writer / Award-Winning Poet
- Justin Borses: Former College Student and employee at Moorpark College
- Lee Chernotsky: Founder and CEO, ROSIES Foundation
- Samantha Elisofon: Award-Winning Actress (“Keep the Change”) and member of EPIC Players, A Neuro-inclusive Theater Company in Brooklyn
- Alex Howard: Entertainment Media and Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program
- Matan Koch: Director of RespectAbility California and Jewish Leadership
- Amy Rosenfeld-Kass: Teacher from The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the JCC
- Ben Rosloff: Communications and Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program
- Rachel Rothstein: 4th year Rabbinical Student at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion
- Barry Shore: Ambassador of Joy and Successful Serial Entrepreneur
- Ari Sloan: Member of EPIC Players who is living with Autism
- Joshua Steinberg: Program Associate for RespectAbility California and Jewish Leadership
- Brendan Stern: Assistant Professor of American politics and the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy in Deaf America at Gallaudet University
- Rabbi Lauren Tuchman: Rabbi, Public Speaker, Spiritual Leader and Educator
- Blair Webb: System Change Youth Advocate at MEET THE BIZ and former Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program
- Aaron Wolf: Co-founder of Howling Wolf Productions and Award-winning Actor, Director, Speaker, and Activist
Rosloff, a filmmaker who is active in Jewish life and has been to Israel, grew up in Great Neck, NY and earned a BFA in Electronic Media from Long Island University. He has produced films for a variety of organizations, including his documentary short “Can I Call You?!” screened in the United States and Russia during an internship with Downtown Community Television Center. Rosloff also has co-produced, edited and screened multiple films for the United Nations. These include a film for World Autism Awareness Day, where Rosloff interviewed then-Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, as well as “#Envision 2030” for Disability Awareness Day. Rosloff currently is looking for a job in video production and/or editing. His LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjamin-rosloff-95324011a. You can reach him via [email protected].
About RespectAbility: RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Founded by members of the Jewish Funders Network, it is the world’s largest nonprofit one-stop-shop on Jewish disability inclusion. RespectAbility knows that people with disabilities and their families have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. www.respectability.org, www.respectability.org/resources/faith-inclusion