JSDD

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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  Shabbat this week, Rachel, Judy and Stacy C. said the blessings over the candles together. Aaron and Todd said blessings over the grape juice and challah.  The torah portion for the week, “Tzaria” describes the rituals for after a woman gives birth and how to handle impurities on the skin. The lesson that Hagit, the Judaic Coordinator, discussed is that Judaism encourages us not to gossip. Stacy agreed that gossiping or talking behind someone’s back does not make people feel good. The group continued to talk about Passover which is coming up in less than two weeks. Everyone is looking forward to the third virtual Sedar, (traditional Passover meal). Stacy thanks everyone for the comfort they gave her while […]

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Shabbat celebrations began this week with songs in both Hebrew and English. When it was time for the prayers, Alicia said the blessings over the candles followed by Mark chanting the blessings over the grape juice and the challah. The group learned about the torah portion “Sh’mini”. The portion begins with offerings to G-d. This portion goes on to explain the rules for being kosher. During the portion, two of Aaron’s sons die. The group talk about and how devastated Aaron was after their passing. He was so shocked; he was not able to speak. The group discussed that it is ok to have space for silence and that there is a lot that can be learned by staying quiet […]

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