Recalling the life and legacy of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, President Joe Biden today joined every one of his predecessors since Jimmy Carter in proclaiming the Rebbe’s birthday ‘Education and Sharing Day, USA.’

“This Education and Sharing Day, USA,” Biden said in the proclamation, “we … recommit to our shared values of honesty, dignity, and equal justice that [the Rebbe] long championed and that have made America strong.”

Former President Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. leader to proclaim the 11th of Nissan, the Jewish date of the Rebbe’s birthday in 1902, as Education Day, a tradition that has been continued by every president—no matter political party—ever since. This year the Rebbe’s birthday falls out on April 19.

“As a prolific scholar and teacher,” Biden wrote, “his calls for new schools and community centers inspired people to build them in all 50 States and across the globe, and they moved generations to embrace education not only as a means of self-improvement but as an essential path to a more just society. Here in America, he also offered counsel to some of my predecessors as President, always advocating for our Nation’s role as a beacon of hope in the world.”

In underlining the significance of a day dedicated to thinking about education, the Rebbe explained in 1978 that while the timing of the president’s proclamation was a tribute to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, “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.

“It is fitting indeed that the USA. has shown, through a forceful example to the world, that it places education among its foremost priorities,” the Rebbe said. “It is also to be hoped that ‘Education Day’ will become a permanent institution, especially since, by reason of the pervasive nature of education, it would lend further significance to other ‘Days’ such as Father's Day and Mother's Day and similar institutions which have become part of American life.”

In his proclamation Biden echoed the Rebbe’s teachings when he noted that education “builds not just knowledge but character, as well as an awareness of something bigger than ourselves.” Indeed, the Rebbe taught that “education … should not be limited to the acquisition of knowledge and preparation for a career, or, in common parlance, ‘to make a better living.’” Instead, emphasis must be placed on personal obligations of justice and morality, which are the basis of any human society. “The educational system must, therefore, pay more attention, indeed the main attention, to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values.”

Noting that all U.S. currency is embossed with the words “In G‑d We Trust,” the Rebbe emphasized that the United States, with all of its bountiful material blessings, has the unique ability and indeed responsibility to share the importance of trust in the Almighty, education and moral values with the rest of the world.