While No One is Paying Attention US President Trump is… – Chabad and Ukraine and Education – Part I

The Presidential Orders That Have the Greatest Impact Worldwide are Being Signed While the Rest of Us are Worried About Covid-19, and the President…

Edited 4.5.20

On April 3, 2020, under the cloak of education, virtues and values, President Donald Trump honored the seventh Chabad Rabbi who died in 1994. Some within the  Chabad-Lubavitcher,  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who some believe to have been the founder of today’s Chabad spiritual teachings.

In affixing his signature to the proclamation below, President Trump told young Chabad children that the United States does not actually value their education at all. In so doing, under the laughable guise of virtues, President Trump spat in the faces of young boys who suffered abuse around the world within the Chabad movement. The abuse hidden by Chabad in Australia sparked an entire Royal Commission and an award to one of many victims, Manny Waks, for his suffering.  Chabad is embroiled in numerous  investigations in the United States for the abuse of children in their Yeshivas. The President does not seem to care. While no one was looking he sent a message to his religious followers that the United States values religion over all else, even when that religion is threatening the very threads of American democracy and the separation of church and state.

On April 3, 2020, while everyone was distracted with Covid-19, President Trump repaid those who helped him get elected in spades. Commuting the sentence of Shalom Rubashkin was apparently not enough.  For his  religious supporters, President Trump gave legitimacy to the non-education of children by way of a Presidential Education Honor. The irony is like a punch in the gut. It is laughable, were it not so utterly ignorant, misguided and devoid of any notion of reality.

Which little birds were whispering in his ear?

Was it perhaps his son-in-law who is loosely connected to Chabad? Or was it the Chabad connection that ties Trump to Putin that supplied the impetus? Was this proclamation the subject of discussion at the Purim event that should not have happened in light of a country under siege by a virus? Or was it Chabad’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal or Guiliani’s mayoral position in the town of Anatevka that was Trump’s inspiration?  Trump and his supporters have called the impeachment trial a witch hunt. Perhaps. But, was it really a witch hunt if Trump is honoring the very founder of Chabad in the middle of a pandemic under the guise of education when Chabad does not educate its children in secular subjects? Or, is there something more?

It is so interesting that Trump chose this same timing to also fire the Inspector General of the Intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, the person largely credited with providing information for the impeachment.

What is Trump hiding; or rather who is he protecting?

While the proclamation was mentioned about a year ago; the timing in the middle of a pandemic begged no dissonance. It was so very fortuitous. While the rest of us are distracted with seclusion, President Trump is taking action by Executive Order that will affect our children and our children’s children. He cannot manage anything that requires cooperation or begs dissent.

And why not reward Chabad when places like Crown Heights, New York are reeling from Covid-19’s war on collective prayer because congregants were not availing themselves of the social distancing mandates. How could the flock have known better when their Commander in Chief was leading them astray?

Donald Trump can neither understand the pandemic nor can he grasp the economics behind it. If you allow your religious to continue collective prayer they will get sick. Their large families will require public assistance at greater numbers, thereby costing the economy many millions in future support. If you allow people to worship G-d on Easter and Purim you pave a path for a pathogen that you do not understand, one that declares war on the bodies of its subjects.

But to enforce such edicts could mean putting the obligation to protect (he is after all Commander in Chief) ahead of a right to practice. Who would provide him funding then?  So, you reward religious leaders for their, what exactly?

And President’s Trump is ill equipped to make mind-numbingly obvious decisions about the safety of his citizens if it means taking on the religious right which supported and financed his campaign. He is guaranteeing they will do so in the future, regardless of how many of them die.

Trump’s thirst for money and grandeur knows no bounds. It is likely the birds whispering in his ear are leading him far astray. Or perhaps they are making way for Trump’s future endeavors?

President Trump is not equipped to juggle the “Constitutional Rights” to practice religion while, at the same time, demanding religious followers practice religion in solitude to keep the rest of us safe. He is not equipped to choose between these two things when doing so would mean setting aside an ego stroked by aggrandizement.  So instead, he is appeasing the forces that got him elected and have kept him seated on his pedestal.

The emperor’s clothes are getting worn.

Over the next few days we will address yet another Executive Order singed by our  Commander in Chief in the midst of a pandemic under cover of darkness. This Executive Order potentially allows one of the world’s most controversial billionaires access to capital, despite his multiple companies’ well-earned position on the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) list of sanctioned entities. The players in that tragedy are the same as they are here: Chabad, Guiliani, Putin, Dershowitz and Freeh and the list goes on.

This is all while anyone interested in oversight is too busy worrying about Covid-19.

 

Preparing the next generation to lead lives of purpose and significance is one of our foremost responsibilities.  Education is essential to cultivating a spirit of curiosity and learning, developing character and conscience, and strengthening the will to work collaboratively.  On Education and Sharing Day, we pay tribute to the family members, educators, mentors, clergy members, and other community leaders who invest in the lives of our Nation’s youth through education and fostering kindness and caring for one another.

Today, we celebrate Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a compassionate and visionary leader whose influence continues unabated since his passing more than a quarter century ago.  This year marks 70 years since Rabbi Schneerson assumed leadership of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement, building the faith-based network into a dynamic force for good which affects millions of people around the world.  Although he witnessed the unimaginable tragedies that beset the world during World War II, the Holocaust, and the oppression and violence of the Cold War, the Lubavitcher Rebbe retained his fundamental belief in the potential of all people and the liberating nature of education.  Committed to the idea that education must “pay more attention, indeed the main intention, to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values,” he established schools and centers for education, service, and spiritual growth on college campuses and in communities across our Nation and around the world.  His legacy and enduring commitment to young people continue as examples of selfless service and devotion for all who know the story of his purposeful life.

Knowledge inspired by unwavering virtue and commitment to faith were central to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s life and mission.  When put into practice, these values empower people of all ages to fulfill their unique purpose, and in turn to enhance and enrich our great Nation.  On this day, let us acknowledge that each person has a unique purpose that can be unleashed through an individual, whole-of-person approach to education, and let us renew our commitment to supporting education as a means by which individuals may grow their gifts, develop their talents, and fulfill their God-given potential.  May we work to shape a brighter future by preserving these foundations of freedom and fellowship for generations to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 5, 2020, as “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.”  I call upon all government officials, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
third day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

3 thoughts on “While No One is Paying Attention US President Trump is… – Chabad and Ukraine and Education – Part I

  1. Dog-bites-man. Unfortunately this is to be expected – one more manifestation of the pathology that is Trump.

    When the virus rages throught the various Haredi communities bringing death and disruption, to what will their surviving leaders (if any) attribute it? Insufficient tznius? Non-kosher cell phones? Mixed dancing? Or will they finally understand that Darwin had it right as they die in droves, leaving orphaned kids by the thousands to struggle along somehow, only semi-literate in English, with minimal knowledge of the world? Do they even understand what a virus is and how it does what it does?

    Tragic.

  2. For members of Chabad, the year is 5781.

    This what Brooklyn, NY resident Chaim Levin wrote on Huffington Post about National Education Day in April 2012:

    Yesterday was proclaimed “National Education and Sharing Day, USA” in tribute to the late Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Menachem Schneerson’s birthday. President Obama wrote:

    For centuries, the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of character have driven American progress and enriched our national life. On Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., we renew our commitment to these timeless aspirations, and we rededicate ourselves to fostering in our sons and daughters inquiring minds and compassionate hearts.
    
    In a global economy where more than half of new jobs will demand higher education or advanced training, we must do everything we can to equip our children with the tools for success. Their journey begins early, and it demands stewardship from throughout the community — from parents and caregivers who inspire a love of learning to teachers and mentors who guide our children along the path to achievement. Our Nation’s prosperity grows with theirs, and by ensuring every child has access to a world class education, we reach for a brighter future for all Americans...
    

    Reading the President’s proclamation deeply saddened me as I thought about the education I missed out on in the Chabad school Oholei Torah (Educational Institute Oholei Menachem) in Crown Heights. Basic reading, writing, spelling, math, science and history were not part of the curriculum at any of the Chabad schools I attended. My classmates and I did not have access to a world class education.

    I have profound respect for the late Rebbe and his legacy. However, I remember very clearly those talks that he gave — the ones we studied every year in elementary school about the unimportance of “secular” (non-religious, formal) education, and the great importance of only studying limmudei kodesh (holy studies). As a result of this attitude, thousands of students were not taught anything other than the Bible throughout our years attending Chabad institutions.

    Until this day, Oholei Torah and many other Chabad schools — particularly schools for boys and a few for girls in Crown Heights and in some other places — do not provide basic formal education. It pains me to think of all the the doctors, lawyers and other professionals and leaders that could have come out of these institutions. These institutions have cultivated the character, compassion, cooperation and goodwill the President also speaks of, producing thousands of shluchim (emissaries) for Chabad all over the world. However, that is the goal of such schools; if you do not become an emissary, you fell through the cracks and are not prepared for anything else. The mantra of Oholei Torah, what most people say when asked why they send their kids to such a school is: “That’s what the school wants for their students, and that’s what their parents want; they hope for their kids to become emissaries of the Rebbe.”

    The big question remains unanswered though: What happens to all of us whose futures do not involve becoming emissaries? The majority of students do not go on to become emissaries and lack even a basic formal education, and, hence, the brighter future the President refers to is difficult to reach. As I attempt to make up for a lack of education in anything other than the Bible and a language not relevant to the workplace, I have more and more questions about how such a harmfully unbalanced educational system still exists.

    Four and half thousand people have become emissaries, a few people have managed to go on to college and a few Chabad schools do include formal non-religious curricula. Many people within the community of Crown Heights still rigorously defend Oholei Torah, excusing the failings of the school by pointing to the “many success stories.” Yet, they fail to notice the largest crowd, those of us who have been ignored, who miss and always will miss the basic education that the President extols.

    In honor of National Education and Sharing Day, we should examine whether we are doing everything we can to equip our children for success. Failure to provide basic formal education cripples children within Chabad communities. We cannot ignore the harm done, and I refuse to remain silent. By opening discussion on education, we risk only improving the Chabad community and honoring the Rebbe’s humanitarian legacy as an advocate for youth.

    On National Education and Sharing Day, I hope we all reach for a brighter future for everyone and strive for schools that cultivate not only character, compassion, cooperation and goodwill, but basic education and tools for success. As we celebrate Passover and overcoming the chains that held us back, I hope we reflect also on things things that keep us from personal freedom today.

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