For at least 25 years now, Joseph Freedland of Fair Lawn has been hiring people with special needs to help in the production and packaging of shower curtains and hospital curtains at Hospi-Tel in East Orange.
The family business, founded by his father and uncle and now owned by his brother David, has eight to 10 such people working in the factory at any given time. Two of them have been with the company 20-plus years.
Growing up we are taught that if one is good, two is even better. A double portion of dessert, two-for-one ticket prices, two scoops of ice cream---you get the message. But what happens when that double portion is an extra chromosome? The answer is simple but very complicated at the same time: it’s called Down’s Syndrome.
When I was a child my mother used to spin her favorite records for us at home all the time. As a child of the 70’s, she loved folk music and played all sorts of records for us. One of her favorites was Simon & Garfunkel. I vividly remember hearing “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Scarborough Fair” over and over again. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I loved the music.
As I grew into my teens, I would listen earnestly to the lyrics, understanding and feeling them deeply. Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock” was one of my favorite tracks.
It’s never been an issue before, certainly not in living memory.
But none of us has lived through a pandemic. We’ve never had to worry about our children getting covid-19, an infectious disease that until recently seemed definitely not to attack children very often, but a disease for which there is no cure. We haven’t had to worry about teachers and other school staff members getting it, and we haven’t had to worry about kids bringing the disease back home and infecting their families.
We’ve never had to worry about safety in this way before.
In early March, as the realization set in that we at Sinai Schools would have to move to online learning at all of our schools, it became apparent that we were living through history.
It’s been over 2 months since we initially began to socially distance. As an educator, as a parent, and as a son, I can attest that this has been an extremely trying time.
On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed a stunning show to honor the first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Flying in formation over Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, our country expressed our collective gratitude to and admiration for this exceptional group of people.
The great musical maestro, Arturo Toscanini, was once listening to a very complex concert with a friend. Toscanini, known for his photographic memory, intense personality and superb ear for detail, asked his companion if he had noticed anything unusual about the rendition of the orchestral piece. The friend replied that he had not and wondered what Toscanini had found unusual and noteworthy. Toscanini replied with an outstanding observation: “There should be fourteen violins in that orchestra.
It feels really good to be able to give.
That’s true for everyone, but it’s particularly true for people who often are given things. Giving back might be a cliché, but not everyone can do it.