Beth Steinberg is the executive director and co-founder of Shutaf Inclusion Programs, offering year-round, informal-education programs for children, teens and young people with disabilities in Jerusalem. Shutaf is committed to an inclusive teaching model that welcomes all participants – with and without disabilities – regardless of religious, cultural and socioeconomic differences.
Beth moved, with her family, to Israel in 2006 from Brooklyn, NY. She regularly writes on parenting issues for Times of Israel, and is also the artistic director of Theater in the Rough, offering engaging and affordable theatrical opportunities for Jerusalem audiences.
Learning outside school with Beth Steinberg #isharehope Episode 87
Summary: Beth’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
– That which makes a person feel stronger and feel supported.
– That which can give us pleasure and make us feel good about our futures and our lives in the community.
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
It’s very interesting. When my youngest was born, he was named Akiva, after a famous Rabbi. He was a really interesting guy so maybe he’s my person who gave me hope because that’s what I named my son. We didn’t know that Akiva had Down syndrome when I was pregnant. He is now 18. I had some notions of names but my husband and I are the kinds of people who really don’t like naming the baby until we look at him or her. I had other names in my mind and when he was born it was suddenly clear to me in a flash of light that he had to be named after this famous rabbi. As the story was told, he was an illiterate shepherd until about the age of 40 when he decided that he needed to go and learn how to read. He put himself into a group of little children and he was going to learn the skills that little children were being told. From there he went on to become this very famous, very, very respected, important rabbi in Jewish tradition.
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
It’s been a really hard year. My sister died in May, my older sister. While we knew that her health was fragile, while we knew that this day might come, it was brutally hard and terrible. Yet, one thing that’s been so good throughout her illness – I’ll put it together. She died in May and six weeks later her eldest child was married to an absolutely wonderful woman. Four months after that or five months after that, the next child got married. It just sort of happened that way – that they were both engaged. My sister knew both couples as couples and was happy for them. The first wedding was the most cathartic experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. We came together, we celebrated, we danced like crazy ‘til 3:00 in the morning. We couldn’t stop. We had to move ourselves to that next place. It was amazing. I think it gave us hope that we would make it through her death. It was interesting how the wedding provided us with such a healthy moment of hope and happiness.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
My life is really very tied up in work and in the organization that I run. It’s a very invigorating experience stewarding an idea. My co-founder and I, we had no idea what we were getting into. We started with an idea and then that idea grew. We hand fund-raised for that idea. I would not be here today if not for the hope and inspiration that my friends and family give us by supporting the project every day. I really do derive a tremendous amount of hope on a regular basis and I would say I share it via the program really every day. Every day we think about how can we inspire the world? How can we inspire each other to truly be open to difference? To be less fearful of difference? To be a more welcoming community? These are very big challenges but they’re challenges that I think are part of my life on a daily basis. I have conversations with people every day and I feel that I’ve become a representative for disability issues. It’s not something that I intended to do, but through that I think we do share with people on a regular basis this feeling of building of a better future for each other.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) Get out there in your community.
(2) Open your heart better.