President Barack Obama has proclaimed April 11, 2014, which corresponds to the Hebrew date of 11 Nissan and the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—as “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.”

“The Rebbe’s primary focus was always education,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, D.C. “Therefore, the fact that President Obama is emphasizing dedication in the educational realm on this day is especially meaningful.”

Citing the Rebbe’s “lifetime of scholarship and good works” and how he “educated generations and inspired them to reach their fullest potential,” Obama called upon Americans to “embrace the spirit that every child matters, and that there is nothing more important than the investments we make in our next generation.”

At a farbrengen gathering for his birthday in 1977, the Rebbe proclaimed the following year to be “The Year of Education,” with an added emphasis on the establishment of new schools and educational organizations.

In 1978, to mark the conclusion of “The Year of Education,” Jimmy Carter became the first president to establish the Rebbe’s birthday as “Education Day U.S.A.” Beginning again with President Ronald Reagan in 1982, each year since has been proclaimed “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.,” a day for Americans to reflect on the value and importance of education in this country.

The Rebbe noted the importance of the inaugural proclamation during a talk on April 18, 1978: “The proclamation of ‘Education Day, U.S.A.’ is of extraordinary significance in impressing upon citizens the importance of education, both in their own lives as well as, and even more so, for the young generation in the formative years—particularly in the present day and age.”

You can read the President's proclamation here.