Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor joined government officials across the nation last month to mark Education & Sharing Day.
President Jimmy Carter first established the day in 1978 in recognition of the educational, charitable and ethical leadership of the Chabad Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994)—“The Rebbe”— whose birthday was March 27.
Schneerson is considered one of the most influential 20th Century Jewish leaders and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton. Under his leadership Chabad established schools, pre-schools, drug-rehabilitation centers, care homes for those with disabilities and synagogues, as well as making Chabad an active community contributor in 6,000 towns around the world.
“Education and Sharing Day is a time for reflection and an opportunity to emphasize the ultimate purpose of education, to ourselves, our children, friends and colleagues,” said Rabbi Yigal Rosenberg, founder of Santa Clara Chabad House.
“Often, when one asks a child why they spend so many years studying, they will respond in order to achieve credentials for the position they wish to pursue as an adult,” he said. “However, the essential goal of education is to raise ethical and moral human beings who care for one another, help those in need and positively impact society. Ethical and moral values are the basis of any peaceful civilized society.
“Education & Sharing Day is a day to refocus our efforts on imparting moral and ethical values to our children and students,” he continued. “We are happy that the Mayor supports this effort and calls upon educators, volunteers and citizens to reach out to young people and work to create a better, brighter, and more hopeful future for all.”
Rosenberg suggests a few ways to make every day “Education & Sharing Day:”
“Teachers and parents can ask children to think about how they can be kind to others,” he said. “They can discuss reaching out to people they know who are in need and share with them. It could be feeding hungry people, visiting an elderly person or reaching out in friendship to a classmate who is not so popular.”
Another way is what The Rebbe called a personal charity box, which children keep in their rooms and put a few coins in every day. “This is a constant reminder for the child that he or she has the ability to help those who are in need,” Rosenberg said, “When the box fills up, the child can choose a needy person or cause to distribute the money to.”
Making the charity box—similar to what Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans know as Lenten “mite boxes”—can be a group project.
“This is a special time for recognizing the inherent goodness of mankind, the infinite,” said Rosenberg, “and for recognizing potential within every individual and the profound value of even the smallest good deed.”
For more information about Chabad Santa Clara, visit jewishclara.com.