Emphasizing the importance of people everywhere working together and helping one another with compassion during a global pandemic, the White House released a proclamation designating March 24, 2021, as “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A,” in honor of the 119th anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. The proclamation, signed by U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, states that it is a day to recall the Rebbe’s teachings and example as “a tireless advocate for students of all ages” who sought to “foster exchange, understanding, and unity among all people.”

It is the 43rd year since the Rebbe’s date of birth was first designated as a time to reflect upon the state of education in society, a bipartisan tradition that began in 1978 with President Jimmy Carter and has been carried out by every subsequent president since.

Referring to the Rebbe as “a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit,” President Biden noted how the Rebbe “devoted his life to bringing healing by advancing justice, compassion, inclusivity, and fellowship worldwide.”


“On this Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.,” wrote the president, “let us recommit ourselves to building an America that is more just, equal, unified, and prosperous. Let us leave our children a nation and a world that is better than the one we inherited—and, in the spirit of history’s greatest teachers, let us help all of our students to love learning; seek lives of dignity, decency, and respect; and work together for the common good.”

In reacting to the very first designation of “Education Day,” the Rebbe expressed that while the timing was a tribute to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, “which sees in education the cornerstone not only of Jewish life, but of humanity at large, and has been dedicated to this vital cause ever since its inception more than 200 years ago—it is a fitting and timely tribute to the cause of education in general, focusing attention on what is surely one of the nation’s top priorities.”

The Rebbe spoke often about education as the bedrock of society, underscoring that it should not be limited to preparation for a career or even the acquisition of knowledge but, as he wrote to President Carter, “education in a broader and deeper sense—not merely as a process of imparting knowledge and training for a ‘better living,’ but for a ‘better life,’ ” with due emphasis on character building and moral and ethical values.

In President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Education Day proclamation, he echoed the Rebbe’s teachings when he noted that “throughout our history ... our educational system has always done far more than simply train people for a given job or profession; it has equipped generation upon generation of young men and women for lives of responsible citizenship, by helping to teach them the basic ethical values and principles that are both our heritage as a free people and the foundation of civilized life.”

The Rebbe spoke about his hope that “Education Day” would become a permanent institution, one which due to the universal nature of education would lend further significance to other days, such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

“It is fitting indeed that the U.S.A. has shown, through a forceful example to the world, that it places education among its foremost priorities ... ,” the Rebbe said. “The proclamation of ‘Education Day USA’ 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.”