Mr. Daniel Reingold ( the President & CEO of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale) welcomed those who came to view the new "Sonia Jaye and Edward Barsukov Low Vision Center". There was an amazing view of the local area that included the George Washington Bridge as you exited the elevator to the 7th floor where the new low vision center was located. This is the first ever Low Vision Center in a nursing home in the U.S. Mr. Reingold said, and it is thanks to the generosity and hard work of Ms. Sonia Jaye. The lighting was bright, the walls were a bright light color, and everything else on the floor was specially designed to meet the needs of residents of the Hebrew Home that had vision problems.
As Ms. Robin Dessel began the tour of the floor there was a painting done for the Low Vision Center, one that could not only look good, but also be touched by those who had problems seeing it. The new kitchen had vibrant lighting, and more space to sit then before. More 12 watt florescent bulbs replaced the old 75 watt bulbs to increase the lighting and decrease the electricity costs. On the new computers there were larger bolder keyboards that were easy to see, and larger screens to view. In the rooms there was also more and better lighting. The tour of the New Low Vision Center ended with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Ms. Sonia Jaye, Mr. Reingold, joined by State Senator Jeff Klein, and former governor David Paterson (see picture below)
There are 870 residents currently at the Hebrew Home, and 5,400 low income New Yorkers who receive home medicaid services from the Hebrew Home. This is done at a 1/4 of the cost of in house services, and was signed into law by then Governor Paterson, which has been increased by current Governor Cuomo.
Mr. Reingold thanked Ms. Sonia Jaye for not only her gift of the Low Vision Center, but her hard work along with others to make it happen. Ms. Jaye said that she chose the Hebrew Home because of the great reputation that the Hebrew Home has, and that she wanted to do something for residents with vision problems.
State Senator Klein and former Governor Paterson had only words of praise for Ms. Sonia Jaye and the Hebrew Home. Senator Klein said that he had sponsored a bill that then Governor Paterson signed into law to allow the many people with life insurance to use their benefits to help pay for long term care in a place such as the Hebrew Home when it is needed.
One interesting area of the Hebrew Home has been set aside as a Judaic museum, where there are over 200 different items on display. The theme of the museum is "Memories" so that some of the residents can remember their history as their ability to remember starts to fade away. I was touched by a surviving Torah on display that had come from a German synagogue that was burnt down during what is known as "Kristallnach, The Night of Terror against Jews in Germany" by the Nazi government.