Sixteen-part short video series explores the intersection of disability and prayer in the Jewish community
Los Angeles, CA, April 9 – Ben Rosloff, a talented emerging filmmaker on the Autism spectrum who serves as a Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program, has created an unprecedented mini-series of one-on-one interviews with Jews with disabilities. The series features deep insights and fabulous emotion as people answer the very personal question, “What do you pray for?”
“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 series was conceived during the rise of COVID-19 as synagogues were closed and people were in quarantine. Filming began in late 2020 via Zoom and was completed in early April 2021. Twelve of the videos can now be viewed on Vimeo.
The videos will be featured weekly in RespectAbility’s newsletter, “Jewish Disability Perspectives,” which also features perspectives, insights, and important disability inclusion events from across the Jewish world. If you would like to receive this weekly resource, fill out this web form.
The first two videos were featured today, and more videos will be featured weekly throughout the year. RespectAbility will also be hosting a release event for a long-form version of the series in the Summer of 2021.
The individuals featured in the “What Do You Pray For” series include:
- Erika Abbott: Writer / Award-Winning Poet – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Ariella Barker: Attorney, Policy Advisor and Communications Specialist – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Justin Borses: Former College Student and employee at Moorpark College – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Lee Chernotsky: Founder and CEO, ROSIES Foundation – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Samantha Elisofon: Award-Winning Actress (“Keep the Change”) and member of EPIC Players, A Neuro-inclusive Theater Company in Brooklyn – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Alex Howard: Entertainment Media and Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Matan Koch: Director of RespectAbility California and Jewish Leadership
- Amy Rosenfeld-Kass: Teacher from The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the JCC – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Ben Rosloff: Communications and Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Rachel Rothstein: 4th year Rabbinical Student at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Barry Shore: Ambassador of Joy and Successful Serial Entrepreneur – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Ari Sloan: Member of EPIC Players who is living with Autism – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Joshua Steinberg: Program Associate for RespectAbility California and Jewish Leadership – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- 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 – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Blair Webb: System Change Youth Advocate at MEET THE BIZ and former Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program – Watch Video/Read Transcript
- Aaron Wolf: Co-founder of Howling Wolf Productions and Award-winning Actor, Director, Speaker, and Activist – Watch Video/Read Transcript
“I am grateful for the opportunity to use my talent to share these insights from talented Jews with disabilities,” says Rosloff. “I look forward to more professional opportunities to continue telling people stories as a video producer, editor, and filmmaker.”
Matan Koch, Director of Jewish Leadership at RespectAbility says, “I was truly gratified when Ben Rosloff took the initiative to offer this wonderful idea. I hope that this insight into the thoughts and dreams of individuals with disabilities will highlight that we are talented members of the Jewish community, just like anyone else.”
Rosloff is a valued member of RespectAbility’s Jewish inclusion team, fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that Jews with disabilities can contribute their talents to the Jewish world, just as he did here. Rosloff, 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].
RespectAbility’s Jewish inclusion work is made possible by generous support from The Joan and Stanford Alexander Family Fund, Beverly Foundation, Einstein-Sim Family, Cheri Fox, The Harnisch Foundation, The Aline and Leo Jacobsohn Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Raymond and Vivian Bass and others.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. It is the world’s largest nonprofit resource center on Jewish disability inclusion. RespectAbility knows that people with disabilities and their families have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. Learn more at www.respectability.org and www.respectability.org/resources/faith-inclusion.