Tikkun Olam translates from Hebrew to English to mean repairing the world, generally through public service or acts of kindness to others. During the holiday of Purim I often take time to reflect on what Tikkun Olam means to me as an observant Jew and as a public official. For me it means feeling responsible for the welfare of society at large and working everyday to ensure that the most vulnerable populations among us get the support they so desperately need. It means making sure our seniors have adequate housing, our disabled have access to support services, and our children have the chance to thrive in the world. It means providing help for those who need it or performing the mitzvot asked of us on Purim matanot la'evyonim.
This is also why I introduced a Resolution in the Assembly, which passed unanimously, to mark March 1, 2012 as Early Intervention Day in New York State in order to bring much needed attention to one of the most critical aspects of childhood development. Early Intervention services allow children with developmental delays, such as autism, to become more autonomous, self-confident, and cognitively and physically ready to lead fulfilling and productive lives. What better way to repair the world through healing than by providing our children the very tools they need to grow and flourish.
The New York State Department of Health Bureau of Early Intervention is currently authorized to provide early intervention services for more than 75,000 infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and their families throughout the state. Research shows that for every $1 spent on early intervention, at least $7 are saved in future costs to the state. Early Intervention services provide vital services that help families support and promote their child’s development.
The Early Intervention providers perform mitzvot every time a young child, who no one thought could function on their own, begins to speak, ask questions, and feed and take care of themselves. It is work that as a community we must continue to support and uphold.
As an Assemblyman and an observant Jew who believes in the tenets of Tikkun Olam, I am proud to be part of declaring March 1, 2012 Early Intervention day and continuing to acknowledge and support Early Intervention Services in New York State.