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Agudath Israel’s New Jersey office applauds the New Jersey Department of Health’s decision to allow in-person early intervention therapy. “This is an amazing step forward for children with early intervention needs,” says Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director of the New Jersey office of Agudath Israel of America. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been receiving numerous calls from parents worried about their child’s lack of adequate services.”


In-person early intervention therapy has been at the forefront of Agudath Israel’s reopening agenda. While the state slowly began to recover from the initial COVID-19 outbreak, parents of young special needs children waited anxiously for their children’s essential services to resume. However, they were devasted to see in-person early intervention therapy pushed to Stage 3.


“Parents were distraught,” continues Rabbi Schnall, “They were witnessing their children’s overall health and well-being deteriorate to dramatic levels. We could not let that happen, which is why we, here at the New Jersey office of Agudath Israel, undertook the project of working to ensure these services were reinstated as soon as possible.”


Rabbi Schnall, who currently sits on the Governor’s Restart and Reopening Commission, brought this issue to the attention of the Governor’s office and the Department of Health. Together with parents of special needs children and Assemblyman Gary Schaer, he successfully managed this campaign to secure in-person early intervention therapy for September 1st.


Rabbi Schnall concluded, “It has been a long process and we are grateful to all the people who ensured these services were secured, especially Assemblyman Gary Schaer, a longtime friend and ally who has committed countless hours advocating on behalf of this community. We are also hopeful that with these services reinstated, these special children can continue to grow despite the setbacks these past months presented.”