America's strength lies in her human resources, and in the freedom and tolerance that enable these resources to blossom.

Education is the first and foremost vehicle of fostering these most basic and inexhaustible national resources.

Our challenge is to create an educational system that promotes warmth, love, joy, and disciplined freedom, spurring all to develop their G-d-given potential and dedicate themselves to a life of positive activity.

His Holiness, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Chabad Magazine, Tammuz 5755


It is abundantly clear to educators and law-enforcement agents that neither intimidation nor threat of punishment can foster a deep sense of moral obligation.  This can only come through the knowledge – through education – that there is an “Eye that sees and an Ear that hears” to Whom we are all accountable.

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Lubavitch International, Summer 5750


No true education can leave out the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life and human striving.

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
The Lubavitcher Rebbe

in a letter to President Ronald Reagan, 10 Iyar 5746 / May 19, 1986


Education does not stop at the school gates.  It is not a business, run on a time-clock.  It is a vocation, a sacred calling, the molding of future generations.  In practical terms, schools must arrange programs for their students after school hours.  This does not necessarily mean extra hours of study.  Rather, activities which are are enjoyable, while simultaneously reinforcing the concepts learned at school.  It does not really matter which activities are chosen, as long as they are wholesome, good for the soul as well as the body.

The goal is to ensure that every moment of a child's life is occupied with positive actions.

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
The Lubavitcher Rebbe

After School Hours
Student's Translation / adapted from a Sicha, 19 Kislev 5742


Reflections

The Rebbe has been sending messengers from one lost person to another, telling each of these people who they are.  “You are not animals.  You are human beings.”

“Look within yourself and you will see that you are far better than you imagined.  Just look.  Open your eyes.”

The Rebbe said to everybody:  “You can be better.  You can be far better.  You just have to let yourself.”

This is the story and secret of your own being.  It is not like climbing a big mountain.  It is just allowing your soul to speak.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

At The George Washington University
June 1995


Educating Our Youth

Education is not merely the transfer of information and skills, but more importantly, the communication of values and character traits which parents and grandparents have learned through their studies and life experience.

Ideally, morality and ethics, learning right from wrong, are taught at home.  Unfortunately, many parents today do not or cannot provide such an education, so the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the public school system.

American families share a core of beliefs.  This country was born on the foundation of what we print on our dollar bills:  “In G-d We Trust.”  As in the business world, where assets are given to another to be held in trust, we Americans are confident that every detail of our lives can be safely entrusted to G-d.

The G-d in Whom we trust commanded us in the Bible to respect parents, and He warned us against robbery, murder, and even covetousness.  The educational system of our great nation was founded on these principles.

Eight Presidents

The United States Congress and the eight most recent presidents have been designating the day which is four days before the Jewish holiday of Passover as “Education Day, U.S.A.”  They have called upon us to renew our national commitment to education that embraces the moral and ethical values which are the cornerstone of civilized society.  This effort began with a proclamation by President Richard Nixon (1974) and has been renewed by Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Passover and Education

The holiday dinner on the night of Passover is organized around teaching Jewish children faith in G-d and answering their questions.  The order of the night is to climb fifteen steps of awareness that lead to spiritual freedom.

The fourth cup of wine is poured after everyone has finished eating and said Grace.  The time is generally after midnight, but two more steps remain.  The front door is opened without fear as a demonstration that “In G-d We Trust.”  True, these actual words are not in the prayer book, but King David composed a similar phrase thousands of years ago – “Ye who fear the L-rd, trust in the L-rd . . .”  (Psalms 115:11).

A Moment of Silence

No true education can leave out the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life and human striving.  It is abundantly clear to educators and law-enforcement agents that neither intimidation nor threat of punishment can foster a deep sense of moral obligation.  This can only come through the knowledge – through education – that there is an “Eye that sees and an Ear that hears” to Whom we are all accountable and in Whom we all trust.

When schools establish a “Moment of Silence” at the start of the school day, children have the opportunity to think about the most important things in their lives as instructed by their parents.  Each child is free to use this reflection time without teacher, supervisor, or government intervention.


Pronunciation Notes:

Nissan - NIH suhn

Lubavitcher - loo BAH vitch er

Lubavitch - loo BAH vitch

Rebbe - REH bee, REH beh

Chabad - khah BAHD

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Unless otherwise attributed, contents are copyright © 1997-2013 by Nathaniel Segal