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Chanukah at Hamaspik

Chanuka at Acres Briderheim IRA in Kiryas Joel
Hamaspik Family Marks 8-Day “Festival of Lights” Across City and Upstate


Chanukah Celebrated with Usual Parties, Presents, and More


With the Jewish community in the midst of celebrating the glorious Chanukah “Festival of Lights,” the Hamaspik community hasn’t left itself out.

Across the network of agencies, Chanukah parties are being held in Hamaspik Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs), with the residents and their staff enjoying in-house festivities filled with fun, games and, in some cases, participation by family and neighbors.

Besides the traditional jelly doughnuts and dreidel spinning-top games, the young men and women residing in the group homes across three counties are also gleefully unwrapping another time-honored tradition: Chanukah gifts!

Most of those gifts were planned well in advance, with Home Managers carefully soliciting each resident’s preference, and then taking the time to shop for those items, some of which are not easy to come by. 

The fulfillment of a wish for any child or young adult is rewarding to behold—and all the more so for young individuals with disabilities; Managers report excited reactions and jubilant smiles from their charges as colorful gift wrap is ripped back and the holiday atmosphere all the more accentuated.

Chanukah has likewise squarely arrived at Hamaspik’s substantial Family Care programs, where each recipient individual, as well as provider family, has received a holiday gift from the agency—a loving touch for the former, an appreciative gesture for the latter.

Speaking of the Family Care program, what would Chanukah be without Hamaspik’s annual and much-anticipated Family Care program Chanukah parties?

Long hosted by Hamaspik’s indefatigable Brenda Katina, the agency’s award-winning Special Projects Coordinator, the parties pay annual tribute to those community families who open their doors and hearts to children with disabilities, typically going far beyond the state program’s care requirements in caring for their “adopted” children.

Each year, the Hamaspik Terrace in Monsey fills to capacity one Chanukah night—with this year being November 26—for an evening of entertainment and inspiration.

A similar program is also held each Chanukah—this year on November 24—for the parents of special-needs kids served under the Hamaspik umbrella, giving them the rallying support and camaraderie they need and deserve.  At both parties, as always, participants come away not just delighted by Mrs. Katina’s wit and uplifted by guest speakers’ messages, but with a small but meaningful Chanukah gift from Hamaspik as well.

Among the several themes of the holiday is overcoming odds. And all across Hamaspik, with children and adults with disabilities exulting in Chanukah to the maximum extent possible, that theme of overcoming odds—of enjoying life just like everyone around them—is on full display.