Editor’s Note: Jessi Steinberg is originally from Suffern, NY and she will play forward for the blue-and-white. She is competing in honor of ALUT (The Israeli Society for Autistic Children). The following is Jessi’s reflection on what representing Israel means to her and includes an explanation of why she has chosen to support ALUT in conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program. Follow this link to support Jessi, ALUT, and Israel Lacrosse.
“Israel and Judaism to my parents and siblings has always meant family. Growing up my parents didn’t necessarily care if we knew the prayers during the holidays or if we followed the day as it was meant to be observed. They cared that our family was together. Every holiday, no matter where my siblings and I were in the world, we all gather together to celebrate what being Jewish means to us, and that meant and will always mean, family.
I am excited to one day share stories and memories of myself and my future husband, who is a member of the Israel men’s national team, with our family. We can display our pride and our story of being a part of something more than just ourselves. The icing on the cake as well, is being able to represent Israel in the World Cup with my twin sister, coming full circle to the concept that my parents have instilled in me; Israel and Judaism means family. I cannot wait to represent Israel with my family and for my family in 2017!
After college, due to the chronic injury that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, I decided that I never wanted to play lacrosse again. After two years and much recovery, my twin sister convinced me to do a 7v7 summer league at our high school. Getting back on the field, injury free with no pressure and being alongside my family and friends, reminded me of why I love the game so much. Despite other memories of high school and college that included certain goals, wins and/or records, that moment during the summer for me, laughing and actually having FUN brought back the memories that had been somewhat tainted by the time I graduated college.
Moving forward, I had jumped in to play with Israel during scrimmages in the U.S. and culminating this past summer at the tryout in Be’er Sheva. Each time I played, I was continually reminded of how truly amazing the game is and how much fun it is to play alongside family/high school/club/college and new friends with a common interest/goal.
I am competing in honor of ALUT (The Israeli Society for Autistic Children), which strives to establish effective, integrated individualized education programs and maximize special education services at ALUT nurseries and treatment centers for toddlers. I currently work at a rehabilitation outpatient facility as a pediatric speech-language pathologist. I work very closely with infants and toddlers with special needs (autism, cerebral palsy, etc.), and can see first hand the benefit a child has when they receive an increased amount of services starting at an early age. I am so excited to represent a cause that is so close to me while I am representing Team Israel.” – JS
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