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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Arcadia marks Education Day, calling for renewed focus on moral and ethical education

Arcadia marks Education Day, calling for renewed focus on moral and ethical education

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Mayor Paul Cheng has proclaimed April 2 to be “Education and Sharing Day, Arcadia.” With a growing mental health crisis and a crisis of purpose among young people, Education and Sharing Day seeks to highlight the critical need for moral and ethical education.

Mayor Cheng presented this year’s Education and Sharing Day proclamation to representatives of Chabad of Arcadia and the Greater San Gabriel Valley during the city council meeting on Tuesday, March 23.

Some programs encouraged nationwide on Education Day include a daily moment of silence at the beginning of a school day, when students can think and meditate about what their parents taught them, helping to focus them toward greater moral awareness; and the ARK (Acts of Random and Routine Kindness) initiative that encourages daily charitable giving and sharing.

“We reaffirm our commitment to offering quality education and teaching our youth about the values of kindness and compassion…Education goes far beyond earning a degree, certification, or career” the proclamation reads, “it helps cultivate the spirit and development of one’s character.”

Education and Sharing Day was championed by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. 40 years ago, Congress passed a joint resolution and President Carter signed into law a resolution to designate the Rebbe’s birthday as Education and Sharing Day. Each president since Carter, as well as numerous local legislatures, governors and mayors have annually recognized the date corresponding to the Rebbe’s birthday, celebrated four days before Passover, as Education and Sharing Day. The Rebbe was born in 1902 in present-day Nykolaiv, Ukraine and this year marks 121 years since his birth.

In his correspondence with President Carter, the Rebbe laid out his vision of Education Day as a time to focus on “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 this vein, in his 1982 proclamation, President Ronald Reagan stated “Education must be more than factual enlightenment—it must enrich the character as well as the mind,”

In President Biden’s 2022 proclamation, he expressed the impact such an education has on broader society. “The Rebbe’s work reminds us, in the words of the Prophet Amos, to “hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate.” We each share a responsibility to live up to those words — in and out of the classroom — and to plant the seeds of love, kindness, and empathy in the hearts and minds of every child in America.”

This year’s Education and Sharing Day also carries added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the Year of Hakhel or “Gathering,” a biblical event brought to modern times as a year of unity, education and spiritual growth; emphasizing how every person is crucial to perfecting the world; and marked with Jewish gatherings focused on unity, Torah learning and practice.

Everyone is encouraged to observe Education and Sharing Day by setting aside time to reflect on how to enhance the moral and ethical education of our youth and increasing in acts of goodness and kindness.

Education Day, or Education and Sharing Day is a day of national commemoration that has been designated by every president beginning with Jimmy Carter in 1978 to promote and emphasize the importance of moral and ethical education. The date of its observance changes annually to correspond with the birthday of the Rebbe — Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory — observed on the Jewish calendar four days before Passover. The Rebbe advocated for a new emphasis on education to be brought to the forefront of public discourse.

The Rebbe — Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory — is often regarded as the most influential rabbi in modern history, who engineered a Jewish renaissance in the post-Holocaust era. For more information on the life and teachings of the Rebbe, visit: TheRebbe.org.

Chabad of Arcadia offers Jewish education, community and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. Chabad of Arcadia is a strong advocate of Education Day and the role of moral and ethical education in a healthy society. For more information, contact Rabbi Sholom Stiefel at 626-539-4578 or visit online at www.JewishArcadia.com.

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