Beloved son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, artist, self-advocate, model of determination. Born Dec. 7, 1969, in Toronto. Died April 8, 2012, in Toronto of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, aged 42.
Jordan leaves a legacy of courage and determination. He fought for everything he wanted in life – the right to be part of a community, to socialize, to practise religion and to learn. He was a true self-advocate.
He was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect. Later, he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and other psychological issues. His dual diagnosis left him with many challenges. Jordan faced each one head on.
Jordan was very inquisitive. Upon meeting someone, he would rhyme off a series of questions. Some may have seemed odd or embarrassing. He lacked a filter. But, because of his charisma, people were happy to indulge him. He used these questions to understand people and the world around him.
When Jordan was in his teens, there was no suitable program for him in Toronto. His parents found Dr. Reuven Feuerstein’s experimental program in Israel. Jordan relocated at age 15. However, he missed the traditions and family he left behind – so he independently found a solution. He discovered a North American yeshiva in Jerusalem, where the people and traditions tied him back to home. Although his formal education ended in Grade 7, he was able to teach himself Hebrew and become an expert in Bible studies. His exceptional memory enabled him to learn and retain so much.
The boys at the yeshiva gave him the opportunity to make life-long friends. He made people smile and laugh. He was welcomed in their homes and loved the dancing and singing he initiated after dinners. He may not have been the most co-ordinated, but he was certainly the most enthusiastic. These friends gave him the respect everybody deserves – especially those working to overcome their challenges. He in turn gave them a gift – the chance to see the value of their compassion and tolerance.
When he returned to Toronto, his determination shone through. He self-advocated for his right to continue practising his religion in the Muki Baum Treatment Centres group home where he lived. He used religion to enrich his life and create structure.
As a young student at Dunblaine School, Jordan had started to sketch. At that time, his art teacher wrote, “Once in a while a child comes along who can capture visions of a world in a very special way. Jordan is such an individual.”
Later, at the Muki Baum Treatment Centres, Jordan began art therapy. He had an extraordinary talent. He used painting as a way to express his feelings and produced some exceptional pieces. He channelled his struggles into a positive outcome. With the help of his art therapist, Jordan organized a beautiful art show of Muki Baum clients’ work. At a recent charity event, Jordan’s painting Downtown CN Tower was selected as the gift for Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Jordan’s big heart and big personality won people over wherever he went. He had a way of making people care about him – and they certainly did.
Karen Goldstein, Allan Goldstein and Michelle Glied-Goldstein are Jordan’s sister, brother and sister-in-law respectively.