The momentum built quickly, rolling along like so many pens on paper.
In honor of the 20th yahrtzeit of the passing of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M Schneerson, of righteous memory—state leaders around the country and the world have been signing off on official proclamations and programs to mark Gimmel Tammuz, the third day of the Jewish month of Tammuz and the day the Rebbe passed away in 1994. This year, that date falls on July 1.
Certainly, at the national level, there has been recognition of the Rebbe and his work. The Rebbe is the only rabbi to have received the Congressional Gold Medal. And he is the only one to have an American national day—“Education and Sharing Day,” on April 11, the Rebbe’s birthday—proclaimed in his honor. On that day this past April, President Barack Obama cited the Rebbe’s “lifetime of scholarship and good works,” and how he “educated generations and inspired them to reach their fullest potential.”
On Monday, in a joint resolution, the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly unanimously declared July 1, 2014, as a “Day of Good Deeds” throughout the Garden State.
State Sen. Donald Norcross, who sponsored the resolution, remarked how the resolution comes just a few hours after the news broke of the murder of the three missing boys in Israel, and asked that “we take the message of the Rebbe to live in universal brotherhood as a response to this tragedy.”
Rabbi Avi Richler, executive director of Chabad of Gloucester County, who coordinated the efforts together with Sen. Norcross, accepted the resolution on behalf of the 52 Chabad centers of New Jersey. In his remarks to the Senate, he quoted the Rebbe in calling upon every human being to increase in acts of goodness and kindness to make this world a better place.
“This resolution is truly a testament to the Rebbe’s continued inspiration to the entire world” Richler said after the session, noting that the resolution highlights the Rebbe’s efforts to achieve “unity among people of all backgrounds,” for “the Rebbe saw the infinite potential of every human being in making a positive difference every day of their lives.”
In a similar move, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed July 1, 2014, as a “Day of Good Deeds,” calling his constituents “to increase in their acts of goodness and kindness towards one another.”
That prompted Rabbi Yosef Landa, regional director of Chabad of Greater St. Louis, to note that “the most remarkable phenomenon about the Rebbe is how enduring and widespread the influence of his teachings have become. Twenty years following his passing, the message and inspiration of the Rebbe are being felt in more places and in more ways than ever before.”
In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee wrote a declaration honoring the Rebbe’s 20th yartzeit.
Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina and Gov. John P. de Jongh Jr. of the U.S. Virgin Islands have also taken note of July 1 as a special day in history, encouraging good deeds throughout their home states and more.
Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, executive director of the Benet Rothstein Chabad Jewish Center in Glastonbury, Conn.—who is planning to attend a July 9 program at the Connecticut State Capitol in recognition of Gimmel Tammuz—said that “as time goes on, we try to increase in goodness and increase in holiness. And especially this year, because it’s a big yahrzeit,” noting the significance of two decades since the Rebbe’s passing.