Nysha Recent News

Sharing the Mission of Furthering Disability Supports

November 1, 2018

By Mendy Hecht

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera Visits Hamaspik


Reflecting Hamaspik’s broadening base, popular public servant Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator representing much of the Bronx, recently paid a folksy visit to Hamaspik of Orange County.


Sen. Rivera (33rd Dist.) serves on the State Senate’s Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee; sharing Hamaspik’s community concern for both, the elected official took an up-close-and-personal tour of a community non-profit on the front lines of supports for both.


Hamaspik’s top brass were on hand a recent afternoon to personally greet Sen. Rivera as he parked outside 1 Hamaspik Way, Hamaspik of Orange County’s looming Admin/Day Hab building in Kiryas Joel, New York. 


Said staffers included Hamaspik of Orange County Executive Director Moses Wertheimer, Hamaspik of Rockland County Executive Director Joel Freund, Hamaspik of Kings County Executive Director Hershel Wertheimer, HamaspikCare Executive Director Asher Katz, Hamaspik Choice Executive Director Yoel Bernath, and Hamaspik founder and New York State Hamaspik Association (NYSHA) Executive Director Meyer Wertheimer.


Moses Wertheimer served as guide for much of Sen. Rivera’s walking tour of the facility.


Hamaspik began as a response both to the Kiryas Joel community’s call for disability supports and services, as well as New York State’s need for non-profits to answer such calls, Mr. Wertheimer informed the agency’s guest. 


What began as a single residence for children with special needs in the Kiryas Joel Jewish community eventually branched out to independent special-needs divisions in several counties, Mr. Wertheimer added—plus the HamaspikCare home-care division servicing ten counties, 80 percent of whose clientele are members of the mainstream population.


One such HamaspikCare community is the Bronx, local office and all, a fact not lost on Sen. Rivera.  An animated conversation on the district’s old-time Jewish community ensued.


From a starting point on the outdoor front staircase, where he was greeted by the gentlemen of the Day Hab program, Sen. Rivera got to see Hamaspik of Orange County’s full range of daily operations on site.


Accompanied by two aides and a contingent of Hamaspik staff, the Senator was granted first-hand and up-close familiarity with the men’s and women’s Day Hab divisions, and the several activity rooms, accouterments and all, that fill them. 


He also took in Hamaspik’s flourishing After-School Respite (ASR) and Early Intervention (EI) programs, and the state-of-the-art therapy rooms and other spaces that serve them right on site.


The building tour also popped in on Hamaspik of Orange County’s Shnois Chaim Senior Day Program, and the onsite branch of the NYSHA Article 16 therapy clinic.


Throughout it all, Sen. Rivera personally met and greeted all of Hamaspik’s directors and their staff, with an atmosphere of conviviality prevailing throughout. 


The Senator’s breezy, man-of-the-people personality especially came to the fore as several individuals supported on-site by Hamaspik cheerily embraced him, figuratively and—at least in one case—almost literally.


The group then repaired to an upstairs conference room for lunch.


Around a large table, Sen. Rivera and Hamaspik’s leaders engaged in a spirited and thoughtful discussion on various publicly-funded Medicaid programs in New York State, both existing and planned, geared towards that mission.


With their combined century-plus of experience, Hamaspik’s cadre of division directors chimed in with considered commentary and industry authority, fleshing out points of agreement and building a consensus on where both parties could work together.


The visit concluded with the Senator graciously sharing a few words. 


From the podium, Sen. Rivera first thanked his hosts, then reiterated his support for the special-needs support community in general and Hamaspik’s mission in particular.


As the event concluded, guests and hosts all came away with the same feeling—that of having caught up with old friends.