Contributed by Rabbi Mendy Greenberg, Mat-Su Jewish Center
On March 28th during the city council meeting at Palmer City Hall, Mayor Edna DeVries presented a proclamation declaring April 7th, 2017 as Education and Sharing Day for Palmer citizens, in honor of the 115th anniversary of the Rebbe's birth. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory was s global spiritual leader and a tireless advocate for youth around the world.
This follows the tradition of US Congress and US presidents, who since 1978 have set aside the day of the Rebbe's birthday as a national Education and Sharing Day.
The Rebbe dedicated his life to the betterment of mankind. He arrived in America 75 years ago, escaping a war-torn Europe. From the moment he came here, he recognized the wonderful values and gifts that our great country possesses: the love and care for all humanity equally.
Understanding that the youth is our future and the America of tomorrow, he was a tireless advocate for youth in this country and throughout the globe, emphasizing the importance of education and good character.
The Rebbe taught that education is not just about accumulating knowledge in areas like math, science and history, but that our educational system must pay more attention to building character with an emphasis on moral and ethical values. One must not stress just success for the individual, but also for society.
To honor his great legacy, in 1978 US Congress and President Jimmy Carter set aside the day of the Rebbe’s birth to be a day of reflection in areas of education. Since then, every year the US presidents have signed proclamations declaring his birthday as Education and Sharing Day USA.
The Rebbe took special interest in promoting the importance of education in the State of Alaska by sending his representatives here in 1970. Thanks to his inclusive vision and unconditional love for humanity, leadership and dedication, countless lives have been touched and inspired, especially through the establishment of the Alaska Jewish Campus and Historical Museum in Anchorage and more recently, the establishment of the Mat-Su Jewish Center - Chabad Lubavitch in Wasilla.
What we saw happen here in the Valley by the violence of youth in the tragic death of David Grunwald emphasizes how crucial and important it is to provide for our children the best education possible, teaching them to be kind and loving citizens, uniting all of us as one nation under God.
Therefore, it is very timely that the City of Palmer follow this great tradition of our country to set aside a day of reflection on the importance of education.