Posted on April 11, 2014
Created by the U.S. Congress in 1978, this day honors the outreach and humanitarian teachings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
This Jewish leader was born on April 18, 1902, in what is now the Ukraine. We are celebrating the rabbi's birthday today instead of on April 18 because this holiday follows the Jewish calendar; Schneerson was born on 11 Nissan 5662, and today is 11 Nissan 5774.
Schneerson lived and studied in the Soviet Union (USSR) for years, traveled to Latvia and Poland as he was meeting and wooing his wife, and worked in Berlin, Germany, and Paris, France. He and his family fled the Nazis and came to the United States in 1941. He rose to positions of leadership within the Jewish community in America (living and working mostly in New York City).
Schneerson was the last Lubavitcher Rebbe and is often referred to as THE Lubavitcher Rebbe. He focused on humanitarian goals and especially youth and education. He said that education in ethics was at least as important as education in geography and geometry and other academic subjects.
The Rebbe was very much focused on schools – and as a homeschooling / unschooling parent, I am not – but I think that we can all agree that learning is a wonderful thing, and that good values and good behavior are pretty great, too!
In his 2010 Education and Sharing Day proclamation, President Obama put it this way: the two most important goals of education are a love of learning and a spirit of compassion.
- Take advantage to today's holiday to learn about Judaism.
- Investigate materials designed to help you think and learn about ethics.
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