By the Grace of G‑d
12 Shevat, 5739
February 9, 1979
Brooklyn, N.Y.

President Jimmy Carter
The White House
Washington, D. C.

Greeting and Blessing:

In light of your gracious letter of September 18, l978, with reference to the resolution passed by Congress designating April l8, “Education Day — U. S. A.” which you signed into law, it will come as no surprise to you, Mr. President, that your proposal to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Education has received my fullest endorsement and acclaim.

This was one of the main topics of my public address on the occasion of the annual observance of the Yahrzeit of my saintly predecessor on the 10th of Shevat.

At the same time I expressed my ardent hope that not only will the proposal be expeditiously acted upon by Congress, but that governments of other nations will emulate your example. For, although some countries already have a separate Department of Education, there are those that have not, and all those where education has still to be placed as a top national priority.

I am, of course, referring to 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.

Indeed, the U. S. government, and you Mr. President personally, are in a unique position or influence among the nations of the world, particularly those benefiting from U. S. economic, cultural and other forms of aid, to encourage them to follow your example and to share your “conviction that the noblest task of government is education” — to quote your statement (2/28/78) — a conviction which has been translated into bold, comprehensive action. I am confident that the response will be positive, and I venture to say that it would have a favorable feedback impact on those in this country who, for one reason or another, are not, as yet, enthusiastic about Congress legislation on the submitted project.

With prayerful wishes, and with esteem and blessing.

By the Grace of G‑d
9 Shevat, 5739
February 26, l979

The Honorable Walter F. Mondale
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500

Dear Mr. Vice-President:

I read with profound interest your Remarks at Meeting of Ad Hoc Committee For a Cabinet Department of Education, Jan. 24, l979. Needless to say, I fully endorse the substance and urgency of your message. Indeed, in light of the saying of our Sages, “Words coming from the heart penetrate the heart and are eventually effective.” I am confident, Mr. Vice-President, that your words will find the proper response they deserve.

You will surely recall, Sir, the meeting at the Caucus Room of Congress, which you graciously chaired, in celebration of the H. J. Res. 770, authorizing and requesting the President to issue the Proclamation designating April l9, l978 as “Education Day, U. S. A.” I trust you also read some of my remarks in this connection that appeared in the Congressional Record, the thrust of which, permit me to reiterate, was:

Education, in general, should not be limited to the acquisition of knowledge and preparation for a career, or in common parlance. “to make a better living!” We must think in terms of a “better life,” not only for the individual, but also for society as a whole. The educational system must, therefore, pay more attention, indeed, the main attention, to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values.

The above principle, which is surely indisputable, assumes added significance now that the Administration is making an all-out effort to promulgate the required legislation to implement the President’s proposal for a Cabinet level Department of Education — for the following reason:

The skepticism on the part of those who, at present, oppose the Administration’s educational program (of which you make mention in your Remarks) is, I believe, in large measure due to the shortcomings of the educational system in this country, which leaves much to be desired in the way of achieving its most basic objectives for a better society. In a country, such as ours, so richly blessed with democracy, freedom of opportunity, and material resources, one would expect that such anti-moral and anti-social phenomena as juvenile delinquency, vandalism, lack of respect for law and order, etc. would have been radically reduced, to the point of ceasing to be a problem. Hence, it is not surprising that many feel frustrated and apathetic.

I submit, therefore, that the Administration’s resolve to restructure the Federal education role — long overdue — would be well served if it were coupled with greater emphasis on the objective of improving the quality of education in terms of moral and ethical values and character building that should be reflected in the actual everyday life of our young and growing generation.

I take the liberty of enclosing a copy of a brief memorandum on the subject, which I trust you will find of interest.

With prayerful wishes and blessings for success in your endeavors to upgrade the educational system, and in all your public and personal affairs,

I remain, Mr. Vice-President,

Cordially yours,