‘Education Day, USA’ brings peace to the Middle East and the entire world

‘Education Day, USA’ brings peace to the Middle East and the entire world

An interesting fact is that the only federally recognized holiday linked to the Hebrew calendar is Education and Sharing Day, USA or Education Day for short. You may not be familiar with it, but this lesser-known holiday occurs just four days before Pesach on the 11th of Nissan, coinciding with the birthday of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. (It falls on April 19 this year.)

For the past 46 years, starting with President Carter in 1978, every president has issued an annual proclamation recognizing the 11th of Nissan as Education Day, as do hundreds of local and state governments.

But what is the meaning behind such a day?

According to the 2023 Presidential proclamation, Education Day emphasizes that “education should not just be about training individuals to earn a living, but it should also be about making a better living for society as a whole…Students should not only learn but also build character.”

An official day dedicated to the importance of education serves an important purpose. It brings our attention back to what education really means, which is imparting essential values to our children. A true education is not just about learning facts, figures and formulas, but about transmitting a moral and ethical framework for our children so that they can inherit and upkeep a better and more just society. This was the rebbe’s message for children of all faiths.

As Jews, the way we impart our values to our children is by prioritizing high quality Jewish education — one that transmits our rich history and shows the next generation the way of Torah and mitzvot. A motto I often refer to is “If education is the foundation of humanity, Jewish education is the cornerstone of Jewish continuity.”

Less than a week after Education Day comes Pesach, the holiday that embodies education more than any other. The Haggadah’s main focus is “v’higatida l’vincha” — our obligation to teach our children. The seders on the first two nights of the holiday are immersive educational experiences where we teach our children the story of Pesach and encourage them to ask questions and be involved in every aspect of the seder.

Apart from Pesach’s emphasis on education, it also marks the birth of our nation, and these two ideas are profoundly interconnected. When we became a nation, we were given a set of rules to live by and were made responsible to pass on that way of living to our children. The best way I’ve seen in my three decades of Jewish communal work to guarantee that our traditions are passed down is through ensuring that each Jewish child has access to high quality Jewish education.

Equally as important as educating our children is the need to do it properly. Looking at the situation in Gaza and the Middle East, we see a clear failure to instill the values of human life. The result, which can be seen everywhere, is devastation and suffering; and to make matters worse, people across the world, in the name of tolerance, are protesting in favor of Hamas and amplifying their message of hate. By prioritizing moral and ethical education, as well as a transmission of the 7 Noahide Laws, we could avert such realities and the world would not look like what it does today.

Doing so also helps create better advocates for Israel. When a child is taught that their right to their homeland comes from G-d, not the U.N, United States, or some other entity, it empowers them to be braver advocates for their land and people. And ultimately, in times of extreme pressures and uncertainty, such as we are seeing today, this sense of purpose is what will carry the Jewish people through.

The world is complicated, messy, scary, and in turmoil. However, the messages of Pesach and Education Day teach us that through intentional and proper education, we can turn the tide of history. By promoting moral and ethical education, we build a world of tolerance and understanding for all people. And by gifting our children with a strong Jewish education, we make them cognizant of their heritage and duty to their people, and show them the way of G-d and the beauty of a life lived in accordance with His will.

Rabbi Mordechai Shain is the director of Lubavitch
on the Palisades. For more information, go to

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