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President Obama Commemorates ‘Education and Sharing Day’ With Chabad Leaders

President Obama Commemorates ‘Education and Sharing Day’ With Chabad Leaders

Rabbis and educators at White House as the president lauds the Rebbe’s lifelong dedication to learning

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President Barack Obama presents a ceremonial copy of the “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” proclamation that he issued on March 31, 2015 to a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and educators from around the country. (Official White House Photo: Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama presents a ceremonial copy of the “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” proclamation that he issued on March 31, 2015 to a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and educators from around the country. (Official White House Photo: Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama received a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch leaders today in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.,” proclaimed on March 31, corresponding to the 11th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, in honor of the birth date of the Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

The president discussed his agreement with the group about the responsibility for education and to focus on the building of essential character, rather than merely transmitting knowledge—a core teaching of the Rebbe. He also stressed his efforts at fighting anti-Semitism and hate, stating his concern about this issue, particularly in Europe. He noted that he raises this matter whenever he meets world leaders.

“We were pleased to be invited to meet with the president, and reiterate our determination to fulfill the Rebbe’s mission of bolstering education and awareness in every possible way,” said Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, chairman of the executive of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, the umbrella organization of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement. “In these times, this need for education—and understanding its essential role in the formation of character, as the Rebbe taught—cannot be overemphasized. ‘Education and Sharing Day’ provides a unique opportunity to refocus our attention on this.”

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Shemtov, who led the delegation, also shared with the president the Rebbe’s view that the situation in Israel must be seen through the context of history, going all the way back to Abraham to gain a deeper understanding of the matter.

Finally, he shared with the president how there are moments when the ultimate decisions by a leader must be made, and they can seem very lonely, “but at those times, the Almighty is there.”

‘A Profound Meeting’

Outside the Embassy of Nepal.
Outside the Embassy of Nepal.

Also included in the delegation were Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington, D.C.; Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J.; Rabbi Yisroel Shmotkin, regional director of Lubavitch of Wisconsin; Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of Chabad on Campus International; Rabbi Meir Moscowitz, regional director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois; and Rebbetzin Chave Hecht, the senior female educator in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, who has taught and mentored thousands of Jewish women and girls for more than 70 years.

Joining the meeting were also the highest-ranking members of Tzivos Hashem, the world’s foremost organization for Jewish children, founded by the Rebbe in 1981: Menachem Mendel Benjaminson, 11, of Morristown, N.J.; and Chaya Mushka Goldstein, 11, of Ann Arbor, Mich. They were both addressed by Obama as “general,” which is their rank in the corps. The president said he appreciated how they have achieved their high rank through many missions of learning and Jewish community service, as well as acts of kindness.

As the delegation departed, a White House official remarked: “That was a profound meeting. I have been in many of these, and this one was really special.”

The delegation included, from left, Rabbi Meir Moscowitz; Rabbi Yossy Gordon; Rabbi Yisroel Shmotkin; Rabbi Abraham Shemtov; Rabbi Moshe Herson; and Rabbi Levi Shemtov.
The delegation included, from left, Rabbi Meir Moscowitz; Rabbi Yossy Gordon; Rabbi Yisroel Shmotkin; Rabbi Abraham Shemtov; Rabbi Moshe Herson; and Rabbi Levi Shemtov.

Obama presented the delegation with a framed copy of the 2015 proclamation declaring the Rebbe’s birthday “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.”

The delegation recited the blessing typically made upon meeting a head of state and, in turn, gave the president a gift of a silver menorah, symbolizing light in the face of darkness and bearing an inscription that reads, in part: “Mr. President, you represent the middle flame, which stands on a higher plane, dedicated in service to others and the greater good, carrying the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation upon your shoulders.”

“We were honored to be invited to the Oval Office to visit with the president, and delighted at how he was so engaged and sensitive to our discussion,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad).

At the Embassy of Nepal with Charge d’Affaires Rishi Ram Ghimiri, offering support and assistance in light of the massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and devastated the capital city of Kathmandu.
At the Embassy of Nepal with Charge d’Affaires Rishi Ram Ghimiri, offering support and assistance in light of the massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and devastated the capital city of Kathmandu.

Just before heading to the White House, the delegation stopped by the Embassy of Nepal, which neighbors the Chabad-Lubavitch Center in Washington, D.C., to offer condolences and support in light of the massive earthquake on Saturday that has claimed thousands of lives and devastated the capital of Kathmandu.

The Charge d’Affaires—the new ambassador is due to arrive next week—at the embassy thanked them for their good wishes and prayers, reminding all of the wonderful relationship with the Nepalese people enjoyed by the Jewish community who live and visit there.

Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz direct the Chabad House of Kathmandu and the Chabad House of Pokara in Nepal, which are frequented by thousands of tourists annually, including many Israeli backpackers and hikers. They also hold what is regarded to be the world’s largest Passover seder, which draws as many as 1,500 people a year.

The international Chabad-Lubavitch movement is the world’s largest network of Jewish educational, social service and outreach organizations with more than 4,000 affiliates in 49 states and more than 80 countries.

Just before heading to the White House yesterday, a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis visited the Embassy of Nepal, which neighbors the Chabad center in Washington, D.C. There, they spoke with Charge d’Affaires Rishi Ram Ghimiri, offering support and assistance in light of the massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and devastated the capital of Kathmandu.
Just before heading to the White House yesterday, a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis visited the Embassy of Nepal, which neighbors the Chabad center in Washington, D.C. There, they spoke with Charge d’Affaires Rishi Ram Ghimiri, offering support and assistance in light of the massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and devastated the capital of Kathmandu.


By Chabad.org Staff
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