On April 18, 1978, former President Jimmy Carter recognized the first Education and Sharing Day, USA.
Forty years later, following in the footsteps of every president since, Donald Trump signed and issued a proclamation yesterday recognizing March 27 as Education and Sharing Day, USA in honor of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The day corresponds to the 11th of Nissan, Schneerson’s 116th birthday.
The White House invited a delegation of Chabad rabbis to attend the signing.
The delegation was led by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the national director of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) and the chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, the umbrella organization of Chabad-Lubavitch, who organized the first Education and Sharing Day.
Also in the delegation were Levi Shemtov of Washington, D.C.; Mendel Alperowitz of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Isser New of Atlanta; Yisroel Shmotkin of Milwaukee; Moshe Herson of Morristown, N.J.; Zalman Levertov of Phoenix; Yehoshua Harlig of Las Vegas; Levi Klein of Memphis, Tenn.; and Zalman Grossbaum of Livingston, N.J.
Across the country, governors from all 50 states and the mayor of the District of Columbia issued proclamations or the equivalent of them recognizing the day.
“As the Rebbe noted, when something is important to society, that is underscored by the attention given it by its leaders,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad). “It is certain that, in these days, good education and building the character of the children in our society is an appropriate focus that we need.”
After passing through security, the group went to the Roosevelt Room, where National Security Advisor John Bolton greeted them.
The group then was escorted into the Oval Office, where they met with Trump.
Abraham Shemtov said the traditional prayer made when meeting a head of state, and Trump expressed respect for Schneerson, particularly the work he did with education.
“The impact that the Rebbe had is, what he said, the importance of a child’s education, as well as, he emphasized, the Rebbe’s view that even a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness,” Levi Shemtov said.
Abraham Shemtov continued by talking about Schneerson’s message about birthdays being a time for introspection and reflection.
Levi Shemtov presented two gifts to Trump on behalf of the delegation — a silver menorah, which was given with an explanation about the shamash as a symbol of a public servant, and a leather-bound haggadah with Trump’s name embossed on the cover. Trump also inscribed an identical haggadah, which will be sent to Jewish active-duty soldiers.
Trump took a moment to greet each member of the delegation before they departed.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe believed that even in the darkest place, ‘the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide,’” a press release from the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary said. “His life is an example of the power of one person to influence the lives of many.”