Nysha Recent News

The Elements of Success and Caring-Hamaspik of Orange County Honors Staff with Appreciation Event

March 20, 2017        

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

A fascinating, fun and interactive talk on the “Four Elements” of ancient medicine and what they mean in modern psychology today was just part of it.

But Hamaspik of Orange County’s March 18 appreciation event for its employee body didn’t just educate its guests.  It left the gathered Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), department and group-home managers, program directors and other staff feeling validated, encouraged and saluted for the hard and altruistic work they put in year-round.

The post-Shabbos dinner, held at the Hamaspik Terrace ballroom on the premises of Hamaspik’s main building in Kiryas Joel, featured an inspirational keynote address, fine cuisine and live music—and an atmosphere of camaraderie that the agency’s diverse employees, guests of honor all, particularly appreciated, too-often unable to socialize with each other as they are due to work demands.

For four hours on a late Saturday night, though, it was they who were given direct support.

The night of appreciation began at 9:30 p.m., as Hamaspik of Orange County Executive Director Moses Wertheimer personally greeted the guests as each arrived.

Taking their seats at elegantly set round tables, the guest socialized as live music by Meshorerim, a local a cappella group, filled the air.

With the seating filling up, Director of Day Services Shmuel Moskowitz took the podium as Master of Ceremonies to formally welcome the crowd.

For Mr. Moskowitz, working with many of the participating DSPs on the front lines each day as he does, the event was of particular import, giving him the opportunity to convey a few powerful words of personal thanks as only a Day Services Director can.  

Emcee Moskowitz then introduced the keynote address of the night: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Weinberger, dean of Kiryas Joel’s primary yeshivah and a noted inspirational community speaker.

Rabbi Weinberger’s brief but poignant talk centered on the spiritual power of supporting individuals with disabilities—focusing on the pristine qualities of their souls counterbalancing whatever shortcoming may be present in their bodies.

As such, Rabbi Weinberger exhorted his rapt crowd, to support people with special needs is to serve as an honor guard of sorts to such special souls—a career of service whose ultimate reward comes in spheres beyond our conscious existence.

The message of honor was not lost on the crowd, putting their daily work as it did in a whole new light.

Following a musical intermission, Executive Director Wertheimer took the floor for a few minutes to speak about Hamaspik in general—and the critical importance of the DSPs in particular.

Echoing the keynote message, Mr. Wertheimer shared inspirational spiritual experiences of his own in his long line of Hamaspik work, connecting them to the ongoing work of the agency especially as spearheaded by its corps of Direct Support Professionals.

Mr. Moskowitz then introduced the night’s primary “entertainment”—a stimulating presentation by popular therapist Mordechai Weinberger, LMSW of Lakewood, New Jersey.

Mr. Weinberger’s interactive discussion revolved around earth, wind, fire and water, the ancient “Four Elements” said to categorize all personality types.

“Fire” is the life of the party who creates a scene in every task done while “water” is the cerebral, calculated type who micro-analyzes everything to ensure the easiest route, Mr. Weinberger posited.  “Earth” is the bottom-line, no-frills disciplinarian who just gets it done while “wind” is the creative artist, head in clouds, who can dream up genius but can’t plan anything.

A hilarious demonstration featuring an attendee representing each type followed, with the professional counselor using the foursome’s responses to the question, “What do you do when your wife asks you to take out the garbage?” to illustrate the personality of each.

The four categories are not only expressed in workplace performance but in personal lives, with Providence guiding men to marry women of opposite type, the lecturer went on, with “earth” marrying “wind” and “water” gravitating to “fire.”

Participants came away with a contemporary—and, most importantly, applicable—interpretation of the “Four Elements” of ancient philosophy to apply to their professional and personal lives.

While the event formally ended well past midnight with Mr. Wertheimer’s closing remarks, guests were clearly anything but tired—as an enthusiastic crowd gathered around Mr. Weinberger for an impromptu question-and-answer session that lasted several long minutes.

At the end of the day, after all, it wasn’t just affirmation of the four elements of personality that guests came away with—but with validation of who they are as members of the Hamaspik family: elite support-givers providing superlative care to those members of their community, and society at large, who need it most.