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Education and Sharing Day honors the values at the heart of our shared mission

As a University, we are defined by our commitment to education and it’s easy to see that mission in action in our classrooms and labs, in a group of students studying in the library, or in the faculty whose office hours, advising and mentoring are so vital to students’ Husky Experiences. But when we consider what it means to be a UW faculty or staff member, student, alum or community partner, our conception of education expands and deepens to encompass all the ways in which we learn and grow as a community that values empathy, service, generosity and togetherness.

This Sunday, April 2, will mark the 121st birthday of the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe and leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. More than four decades ago, President Jimmy Carter designated the Rebbe’s birthday as Education and Sharing Day. Since then, every U.S. president has continued the tradition of officially recognizing the Rebbe’s legacy of promoting love and kindness as an integral part of learning.

This year’s Education and Sharing Day also carries added significance for our UW Jewish community because it is the Year of Hakhel, or “Gathering,” an ancient celebration of unity, education and spiritual growth that occurs once every seven years. Both Chabad at UW and Hillel at the University of Washington are wonderful resources for Jewish students and students of all backgrounds to explore the role of moral and ethical education in a healthy society.

As a spiritual leader and teacher, as well as a Holocaust survivor, the Rebbe dedicated his life to the idea that a truly meaningful education is one that also enriches our character and brings us closer together as a community. These values are embodied by our mission of public service and our shared commitment to creating impact for the public good, values that resonate deeply with people of all – or no – faiths. I am continually grateful to be a member of this community that lives up to these ideals every day in countless ways.

(Edited April 20, 2023)