The Boggs Center Mourns Rabbi Evan Jaffe
Evan Jaffe, who passed away last week, was the rabbi at the Jewish Community Center in Flemington, a role he lived in the fullest sense of creating a loving community. Rabbi Jaffe provided chaplaincy to people at Hunterdon Developmental Center as well as at the state prison in Clinton. He provided young congregants with the experience of service by bringing them to the Developmental Center to participate in services and to teach prayers. At the same time, he helped residents of the Center - some of whom couldn't speak or used communication devices - to prepare for Bar & Bat Mitzvahs and be full participants in this cornerstone Jewish ritual often denied to people with disabilities. Rabbi Jaffe was also a founder of Open Road, an organization of clergy, professionals and community members who were committed to helping people with disabilities of any faith fully participate in the community's congregations. About 10 years ago, when he had already been a practicing and beloved spiritual leader at the Flemington FJCC for over 25 years, Rabbi Jaffe returned to school to earn an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, to further develop his skills as a compassionate helper. There was no person in need whom Rabbi Jaffe wouldn't help. As director of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, I was fortunate to work with Rabbi Jaffe. He was an active participant in our Clinical Pastoral Education program, teaching students and serving on the Professional Consultation Committee. We were also honored to have his service as a member of The Boggs Center's Consumer Advisory Committee.
With Rabbi Jaffe's loss, a great light has gone out in the world. I wish his family and all who loved him and were touched by his kindness, condolences and comfort from the privilege of having known him. May we draw inspiration from his selfless spirit and commit ourselves to working toward the loving, inclusive world he modeled for all of us.
- Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD
The Boggs Center Receives Grant to Explore Experiences of Diverse Families of Children with Autism
The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities has been awarded funding by The Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism for research that will explore the experiences of Latino families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This qualitative research study, titled Exploring the experiences of diverse families of children newly diagnosed with ASD in New Jersey, will focus on understanding the impact of diagnosis on the family and pathways from diagnosis to linkage with services and interventions. The grant was announced by First Lady Mary Pat Christie, Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd, and members of the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism on Thursday, June 25, 2015. This study will build on previous work The Boggs Center has done, in collaboration with Children’s Specialized Hospital, to develop and test a new screening tool for autism among children from diverse backgrounds.