JSDD News

Shabbat celebrations began this week with Stacy C. and Debbie chanting the blessing over the candles. Mark performed the blessings over the grape juice and the matzah.  Since this is the last full day of Passover, the group enjoyed matzah instead of challah. Next, there was a video about the preparation of matzah.  An interesting fact is that in order to be considered Kosher and allowed to be eaten on Passover, matzah must be made in 18 minutes from the time the water and flour touch until it comes out of the oven, otherwise there is time where the ingredients could ferment and not allowed to be consumed.  Daniel and Stacy C. both said they really enjoy matzah and had […]

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  This week was not a typical virtual Shabbat. Friday evening was the beginning of Passover. Each time a new person or group joined the meeting they wished each other “Shabbat Shalom” and “Happy Yom Tov” (a peaceful Shabbat and a happy holiday). Everyone was so excited to see each other and celebrate virtually. Some participants remembered that this was the third virtual Seder.  Daniel C. was grateful for the delicious holiday meal provided by JSDD. Stacy C. said the blessings over the holiday and Shabbat candles and all the participants covered their eyes. This is a tradition that allows you focus on the words of the prayer and close yourself off from the other distractions.  Daniel Z. and Daniel […]

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Written by Chris Guida Imagine planning a trip to Hawaii, where the language is familiar, and the atmosphere is heavenly only to get off the plane and discover you are in Mongolia. When my son Kevin was born 37 years ago, I had a totally different idea of what his life would be like.  I imagined small joyful milestones like babbling his first words, taking his first steps, riding a bike.  I pictured sports awards, academic accolades, maybe even a scholarship to a fine college.   That never happened.  You see, Kevin was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Distal 18Q.  He is on the Autistic Spectrum.  This disorder affects his speech and language skills, gross and fine motor skills, weakens […]

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  Name: Tyiesha Baptiste   Title: Recently promoted to Senior Manager of West Orange and Passaic Ave. Group Homes.   How long have you been with JSDD? 11 years   Was this the position you started in? Started as a Direct Support Professional (DSP)   What is your first memory of JSDD? I am not sure about my first memory, but the early memories are working with another staff member, Bitango, and observing how the staff treated the residents like family. Sheronda was the manager of the home to which I was assigned, and I immediately loved the way she ran the house. I also remember how funny and loving the residents were from the start.  I knew if I […]

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  As the weeks go by, everyone is feeling more comfortable using the new technology of Microsoft Teams for the virtual Shabbat gatherings. Alicia and Hannah said the blessing over the candles together. Daniel Z led the blessing over the grape juice and the challah.   Hagit, the Judaic coordinator taught the group about the weekly torah portion, “Metzora.” In this portion, we learn about diseases and our bodies. It also discusses harmful speech and reminds us of the power that words have on one another. This reminded Rachel of a favorite song by Tim McGraw, “Humble and Kind” and she asked that Hagit play the song for the group.  The song says that being humble can be tough but […]

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