By Rabbi Shemtov

On Tuesday, April 12, Governor Doug Ducey signed the “Moment of Silence” law, requiring public schools to provide a few minutes each day, or week, for students to be able to reflect, meditate, or pray as they see fit.

In his remarks at the signing, Gov. Ducey said, “As we’re working to get Arizona kids refocused in the classroom, we should also work to get them refocused emotionally.” “That’s exactly what H.B. 2707 does, ensuring all schools set aside time every day for students to engage in a moment of silence. This gives our kids the opportunity to take time to remember, reflect, meditate, pray, prepare for the day ahead or anything they—and their parents—choose.”

The signing of the bill corresponded with the 120th birthday of the Chabad Lubavitcher Rebbe, the inspiration behind the bill. He believed it would put society on a better path by giving children the awareness of something greater than themselves, imbuing them with the moral values of their parents choosing.

Some more background
In response to the record-setting crime rates of the late 1970s, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, enthusiastically encouraged the federal government to mandate a “moment of silent reflection” in all public schools throughout the nation. Instead of focusing on policing and punishment, it is critical to educate our young to not become criminals in the first place, the Rebbe said.

As parents and educators, we cannot simply equip our children with the tools to embark on successful careers, we must teach them how to choose right over wrong and good over evil. To be mindful of an “Eye that sees and an Ear that hears” that cannot be outsmarted or manipulated, making all of us accountable for our actions. To live lives of service and higher purpose.

When school children reflect silently at the beginning of the school day on the purpose of education, it has an indelible impact on their moral and ethical perspective in life, with far reaching results. When implemented meaningfully, this moment of silence can have a transformative effect on our youth and change the course of history.

While the Rebbe saw a “Moment of Silence” as a way to accomplish this, at the same time he highlighted the necessarily nonsectarian nature of the moment, explaining that “if the law were to establish a spoken acknowledgement of G-d, then, even with full provisions for neutrality concerning any particular religion, nothing can assure that the teacher or principal will not exert some pressure on the students concerning a particular religious belief”; hence, a “Moment of Silence” was in fact preferable to any spoken prayers in a public-school setting.

The Rebbe also added that this simple, daily act would hand responsibility for a child’s emotional and spiritual well-being back where it belonged, with his or her parents. “Another advantage to a ‘Moment of Silence’ specifically is that it will force parents to take part: They will have to tell their child what to think about during the ‘Moment of Silence’—about the Creator and Ruler of the world. Parents will therefore send their child to school equipped not only with physical food but also with spiritual food.”
Parts of this article were taken from
For more on this topic please feel free to reach out.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me at, or visit our website at

Rabbi Yisroel Shemtov grew up in Brooklyn, NY. After finishing Yeshiva, Rabbi Shemtov went on to becoming or-dained at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. Rabbi Shemtov has served as a student Rabbi in communities across the world. Including in Bulgaria, Wyoming, South Dakota and California where he has led educational and holiday programs. He has taught children through Torah Tutors, an online Jewish studies plat-form.

About author View all posts

Guest Author