As the United States and the world combats the global COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. states and cities will follow the lead of the President in taking a moment to mark the 118th anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—on 11 Nissan, corresponding this year to Sunday, April 5—as “Education Day,” commemorating the Rebbe’s emphasis on “the importance of education and good character,” as the State of Pennsylvania’s declaration reads.

Every president since Jimmy Carter has signed a proclamation on what is today called “Education and Sharing Day, USA,” honoring the Rebbe’s vision.

“Committed to the idea that education must ‘pay more attention, indeed the main attention, to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values,’ he established schools and centers for education, service, and spiritual growth on college campuses and in communities across our Nation and around the world,” reads U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 proclamation of “Education and Sharing Day, USA.”

And as the United States—and countries across the world—combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the values of morality and charity espoused by the Rebbe are more crucial than ever.

“With the world in a state of upheaval due to COVID-19, and uncertainty permeating the lives of people in every state and country, the necessity of fostering moral and ethical values including charity and kindness is now more vital than ever,” reads the proclamation from the State of North Dakota.

Many of the proclamations noted that this year marks 70 years of the Rebbe’s leadership, which began in 1950. “This year celebrates a significant milestone, 70 years since the Rebbe assumed spiritual leadership,” reads Arizona’s proclamation. “During the past seven decades, citizens across the country have been encouraged to participate and take responsibility for this urgent global vision of goodness, kindness and moral education.”

In total, eight states and at least as many U.S. cities issued proclamations this year, recognizing the Rebbe’s ongoing vital contributions to the causes of moral and ethical education.

While schools are closed across the country, education never stops, and many states are taking the opportunity to promote these core values to their citizens. “Recent events and school closures have emphasized that the character of our young people is strengthened by serving a cause greater than themselves and by the anchor of virtues, including courage and compassion,” reads Idaho’s proclamation. “And that by instilling a spirit of service in our children, we create a more optimistic future for them and for our State.”