Together for Shabbat

February 2, 2024, the JSDD community came Together for Shabbat for a very special evening made possible through a grant from the Centennial Shabbat Committee and our Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest N.J. It was a night to celebrate 100 years of community service in addition to the beginning of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM).

This “in person” gathering brought together the JSDD community (residents, WAE Center members, families, caregivers, staff and board members) to celebrate Shabbat. Typically, JSDD’s weekly Shabbat celebration is hosted virtually by JSDD’s Judaic Coordinator, Hagit Oren. Additionally, on the first Friday of each month residents gather and enjoy a communal supper and celebration of the arrival of Shabbat. Residents and members participate by singing, reciting prayers, and learning about the weekly torah portion. This “Together for Shabbat” was a warm, wonderful opportunity to celebrate friendship, connection, and community.

It was B’shert (meant to be) that this special meal coincided with the start of JDAIM which made the whole evening truly special. Heidi Gallery exhibited “Wonderful Chaos” a show highlighting artists from within the JSDD community. The night began in the gallery with everyone taking in the chaotically beautiful exhibit. Artists who were unable to attend the opening had the opportunity to see and share their work with housemates, family and caregivers.

With Heidi Gallery full of art, artists and the JSDD community, it was the perfect place to recite prayers and welcome Shabbat. After a warm welcome by JSDD, Executive Director, Linda Press, several residents along with Hagit led the prayers. The group then moved to the WAE Center social hall for dinner. After supper residents who were on the Centennial Mission to Israel shared stories and spoke about how the trip was a dream come true.

JSDD was honored to come together as a group and simultaneously connect with the larger MetroWest community. The Shabbat program and art exhibit made for an exciting and memorable experience.