WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama marked "Education and Sharing Day" with a tribute to the late Lubavitcher rebbe who launched the initiative.
"The professional demands of today’s workplace require a renewed commitment to education," Obama said in a statement Friday proclaiming April 5 as the 31st commemoration of the event instituted by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson in 1978. "Our youngest children need a strong early foundation. Standards must be raised, curricula must be enhanced, and teachers must be supported. Families, communities, and educators must collaborate to ensure that students are working hard and receiving the best instruction possible."
The annual proclamation made by every president since Jimmy Carter honors Schneerson’s interest in teaching moral values in school.
"Few have better understood or more successfully promoted these ideas than Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who emphasized the importance of education and good character," Obama’s proclamation said. "Through the establishment of educational and social service institutions across the country and the world, Rabbi Schneerson sought to empower young people and inspire individuals of all ages. On this day, we raise his call anew."
Schneerson was an early advocate of a Department of Education separate from the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare.