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Education of character

This week has been declared by Duluth Mayor Emily Larson "Education and Sharing week". Over the last four decades, the US Congress has set aside “Education and Sharing Day,” and it is proclaimed annually by presiding US presidents from both parties on the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson's birthday, which is four days before the Jewish festival of Passover, in tribute to his commitment to teaching the next generation of Americans the values that make our country strong. This year it is observed on Tuesday, April 12.

The Rebbe taught that every individual, and in fact, every individual action, has an impact on the entire universe. The Rebbe emphasized the importance of education and good character, and instilled the hope for a brighter future into the lives of countless people in America and across the globe.

The Rebbe taught that education, in general, should not be limited to the acquisition of knowledge and preparation for a career. Instead, the educational system must pay more attention — indeed the main attention — to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values.

In todays society the question that our children ask today is not how but why. Information as a commodity is available on the tips of their fingers, quite literally. What they don't know is why they should lead a moral life, why should they should value an honest days work, or why were they born in the first place. When it comes to how to function in society they don't need our help, in fact they may be better at it then we are. So let's give them what they truly matters, the morals, ethics and purpose of existence, namely that we were created to make this world a better place.

To quote the Mayor's proclamation "...the educational system must also focus on building character by emphasizing the cultivation of universal moral and ethical values that have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization...".

This Education and Sharing week marks 120 years since the Rebbe's birth. His teachings have guided millions and continue to guide the next generation. Let's continue his work by teaching the next generation what is really important, who we are, not just what we do to earn a living.

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I write this sitting on a plane as I head to my cousin's wedding (Mazal Tov Isaac & Dora!) with mixed feelings. Five years ago I sat on a plane as we moved to Duluth to strengthen the Jewish community


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