“Celebration of Life Week,” one of the events and observances sponsored and promoted by the International Society of Friendship and Good Will, takes place annually during the first week in January, which has also been designed as “Celebration of Life Month”: “A time to honor our children and grandchildren in America. Each child and each life is to be held as a precious gift and should be treated with the highest respect and dignity,” according to Answers.com.
“L’Chaim: To Life”
To celebrate this occasion, we offer a toast, L’Chaim (the Hebrew expression which literally means “To life.”) L’Chaim reveals a lot about the Jewish approach to life. The phrase is not to a good life, to a healthy life, or even to a long life. It is simply to life, recognizing that life is indeed good and precious and should always be celebrated and savored. According to a noted Rabbi, L’Chaim means not “to life” as it is commonly translated, but “to lives“—to life in the plural: life in all its fullness, overflowing life that impacts others. No one could live life by themselves. We all need someone else. So there’s no point in toasting life, because life that is not shared is unlivable. So in recognition of the “Celebration of Life Week,” the first week in the January, “Celebration of Life Month,” we offer a toast and say L’Chaim!
As a follower of Jesus Christ, who is “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” I endeavor to speak life, while making declarations about life in the midst of a culture that seems absorbed with death. In the midst of an environment where dark forces would seek to release a spirit of death, we celebrate life and speak life to our towns and cities, to the states of our nation and indeed to the world. Let’s listen to “I Speak Life”— the title song from the CD by Donald Lawrence, featuring Donnie McClurkin, an appropriate song for Celebration of Life Week.
Celebration of Life–Figurative Public Sculpture
In downtown Columbus, near Veterans Memorial Coliseum, we find an eye-catching metal sculpture displayed again the skyline of the Capital City. Created by Alfred Tibor, a holocaust survivor, the statue depicts a woman lifting a child over her head and tells the story of early life in the town of Franklinton which grew into the city of Columbus.
www.waymarking.com provides photos and the following description of the bronze sculpture:
The plaque on the front reads:
“Celebration of Life
Arthur Boke Jr. was the first African-American resident of Franklinton, Ohio. His story tells far more than the color of his skin. It is a story of love, selflessness, compassion, and understanding expressed by Sarah Sullivant. Her example reaches out to humanity with a mother’s pure love that accepts all human beings as equal, who share each other’s burdens, listen to each other’s stories, and learn what it is to live in harmony.
It was Sarah Sullivant, who with her husband Lucas – founder of Columbus, made the story of Arthur Boke Jr.
In 1803, Sarah had just given birth to a son, when several days later she found at her doorstep an abandoned baby of a slave. It is what happened next that lifts the story into the rare.
Sarah, filled with the love for her own new-born son, could not bear to leave the abandoned baby without help. Urged on by a humanity very seldom seen in those days, she took the baby, and along with her own new son, nursed both to a strong and healthy childhood.
Named Arthur Boke Jr. by the Sullivants, the baby was adopted by the family and lived as a son and brother until his passing in 1841. The Sullivant children, especially Joseph, whom Arthur helped raise as a loved brother, made sure Arthur was buried in the family plot. It was a testament to Arthur’s inclusion in the Sullivant family. It was an example for future generations that love bridges even the deepest of divides.
Presented here as a modern tribute to the Sullivant’s expression of love is “Celebration of Life,” a sculpture celebrating the family’s deed, and enshrined in bronze, a symbol of how all humankind can make this a better world, one child at a time.
Another plaque on the side reads:
“I am a survivor of the Holocaust, the worst genocide in history.
Hatred is destruction
I gained freedom when I came to the United States of America.
I donated this work to tell coming generations; “Freedom, hope and respect, celebrate life.”
– Alfred Tibor – Sculptor
To learn more about the Celebration of Life Week, click here and find out more about the significance of this observance in Columbus, Ohio, the location of the bronze “Celebration of Life” statue erected in Veteran’s Memorial Park in downtown Columbus.
During the first week of the New Year, it is appropriate to continue our blog entries at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe with a focus on the “Celebration of Life.”