US President Donald Trump signed the 40th annual proclamation marking National Education and Sharing Day, in honor of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Rabbi of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 27, 2018, as ‘Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.,’” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I call upon government officials, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
A delegation of Rabbis from the Lubavitch (also known as Chabad) Hasidic movement attended the signing ceremony, which took place in the Oval Office.
Education and Sharing Day was established in 1978 as a call for increased focus on education. Established in honor of Rabbi Schneerson, known to his followers as “the Rebbe,” the national day recognizes his efforts in the area of education and sharing for all people. Education and Sharing Day has been proclaimed annually by each sitting president on the 11th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, Rabbi Schneerson’s Hebrew birthdate.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) presented two gifts to President Trump on behalf of the Lubavitch delegation, the first of which was a silver menorah (eight-branched candelabra used in the holiday of Hanukkah).
The second gift was a leather-bound Passover Haggadah (the book describing the story of Passover) with the president’s name embossed in gold on the cover. The president also signed an identical Haggadah, which Chabad will print and send to IDF soldiers to be used at their Passover Seders (the celebratory meal on the first night of Passover, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt).
Rabbi Levi Shemtov emphasized that the national day has more relevance now than ever before.
“Education Day is all about looking a bit deeper, finding the greater meaning that life brings,” said Rabbi Shemtov to the media. “If ever there has been a time for that type of effort, it’s now. Education Day can be the vehicle to help this meaning come to the fore. Right now, we’re seeing the start of a community conversation, from this country’s leadership to the rank and file.”
In his proclamation on Tuesday, Trump also spoke of Rabbi Schneerson’s legacy in this regard.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a widely respected scholar and leader of faith who believed in the potential of all persons and sought to empower young people through education, character development, and civic pride,” Trump said.
“He recognized that access to education, paired with moral and spiritual development, could transform the world for good, and he devoted his life to these principles.”
“His commitment to invest in the lives of the next generation led to the establishment of academic and outreach centers to help grow and engage young minds and provide them with spiritual and material assistance,” Trump continued. “Thanks to his drive and dedication, these educational and social service centers can be found in every state and throughout the world.”
Trump expressed a hope that the country will follow Rabbi Schneerson’s example in prioritizing education and other important values.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe believed that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide,” Trump added.
“May we strive to be that light for future generations, instilling in them the value of education and the virtues of courage and compassion that can impact our communities and the world for the better.”