On Monday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis visited The Shul of Bal Harbour, where he signed a bill requiring public schools to hold a moment of silence in their classrooms at the beginning of each day, a cause which the Rebbe strongly promoted.
By Anash.org reporter
On Monday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis visited The Shul of Bal Harbour, where he signed two bills into law, one requiring a moment of silence at schools and another advancing Hatzalah of South Florida.
Shliach Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, rabbi of The Shul, opened the event with a hearty welcome to DeSantis followed by a prayer.
Addressing the crowd of local Rabbonim, shluchim, community activists and members, the governor gave great distinction to the Moment of Silence bill. “The idea that you can just push G-d out of every institution and be successful, I’m sorry, our founding fathers did not believe that,” DeSantis said.
With the signing of this bill, public school principals will now be required to direct first-period teachers to institute a one- to two-minute moment for reflection at the beginning of each day, without making any suggestions about how to use the moment. Teachers also will be required to encourage parents to talk with students about the moments of silence and “to make suggestions as to the best use” of the time.
Sen. Dennis Baxley spoke shortly after DeSantis. “Who knows what may be changed simply because the children of Florida will have the opportunity of quiet reflection,” he said. “I want to thank the community of faith for stepping up for this freedom.”
The Rebbe began campaigning for a national Moment of Silence in 5743, stressing that education is not merely the transmission of knowledge, but is really the teachings of morals. A group of Florida shluchim, including Rabbi Yosef Junik, Rabbi Yossi Denburg, Rabbi Schneur Z. Oirechman and Rabbi Yossi Hecht have worked for years to bring the Moment of Silence bill to law in their state. They were assisted by Rabbi Avrohom Frank, who has advocated for a Moment of Silence across the nation for decades. The signing of the bill this evening is the climax of their efforts.
“The bill for the moment of silence will bring G-dliness, humanity, structure, morality, ethics back to our children, our schools, our society and our community,” Lipskar said.
The second bill signed will allow Hatzalah of South Florida to operate as a full-fledged EMS provider, using lights and sirens while responding to emergencies in their private vehicles, and transporting patients to the hospital in their ambulances.
Rep. Mike Caruso, a Delray Beach Republican who sponsored the ambulance bill, likened it to the bill mandating a moment of silence. “Hatzalah means ‘rescue,’” Caruso said. “And … this bill, I see it as a first step of rescuing our communities and our society from the purging of G-d out of it. And this is a first step of getting G-d back into our communities.”
In his remarks, the governor also reaffirmed his commitment to fighting antisemitism and ensuring that the Jewish community in Florida remain protected, as well as his strong support for Israel.