An Arizona law that ensures kids in the state’s public schools will have time to begin the day with a one- to two-minute Moment of Silence was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on April 12, the 120th anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

The law, whose greatest proponent was the Rebbe, calls students to “set aside at least one minute … at the beginning of each school day for students to engage in a moment of silence … .” The Moment of Silence, which is mandated in 16 states now, allows students to benefit from a brief period of silent reflection with no direction from teachers, as the law states: “A teacher or other school employee may not suggest the nature of any reflection in which a student may engage during the moment of silence.”

Instead, the law follows the Rebbe’s advice. Highlighting the universal nature of the proposal, the Rebbe insisted that parents be the ones who instruct their children regarding what to reflect on during a Moment of Silence—and not the school or the teachers—providing parents with a framework for meaningful dialogue with their children. While parents often pack a sandwich for their child’s lunch, he explained, they must also send them off with “spiritual food.”

Arizona’s House Bill 2707 is the culmination of a journey that began with the Rebbe’s 1980s public addresses, often focused on the importance of a moral education for children of all backgrounds. Education, the Rebbe stressed, must be more than mathematics and language; it must produce upstanding, moral citizens, he said after the 1981 assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan.

Parents cannot leave education entirely up to the schools, the Rebbe insisted, but must take an active part in it. Using the Moment of Silence to engage with their kid’s education would ensure that parents have a hand in the moral education of their children.

Rep. Alma Hernandez (D-3rd District), was inspired to take up a Moment of Silence after she met Rabbi Zalman Levertov, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Arizona, at a menorah-lighting last Chanukah. After several more meetings with the rabbi, she decided to introduce the Moment of Silence as soon as legislative sessions opened, she told “I feel very honored to have been able to run this legislation, and that it was signed on such a special day honoring the Rebbe.”

“I remember when the Rebbe spoke about the Moment of Silence and the pain he had that children going to public schools have the many challenges that they do,” reflects Levertov. “Especially a young man like John Hinckley Jr., who had everything he needed, was from a well-to-do family and tried to assassinate the president. Thank G‑d, I was able to be a part of bringing a Moment of Silence to our state by helping Rep. Hernandez pass it through the legislature, together with the help from Rabbi Pinchas Allouche, Adam Kwasman and Avraham Frank.”

“I’m confident that this will have significant impact on the mental and emotional health of our children,” Ducey said at the signing. “And I want to thank Rep. Alma Hernandez for sponsoring this legislation and for leading on this issue. I’m eager to sign this bill today, which will further the vision of the great rabbi [the Rebbe], enhance the education of our children, and contribute to their emotional and spiritual well-being.”