Every Sabbath is like a Family Day for the Corenblums
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
"If we don't have peace in the home, how are we going to have peace in the world?" asked Jenica Ashlie, the subject of last week's column, who uses her expertise as a relationship coach to promote quality time between parents and children.
Your responses provide a fitting prelude to celebrating the Feb. 20 Alberta Family Day.
Reflecting on her own struggle with the dangers of what Jenica calls "hurried-woman syndrome," Calgary coffee companion Jeanne Hammer wrote: "My number one priority in life has always been my family, and for that 'my cup runneth over.'"
From Mumbai, India, Raj Patwardhan, another e-mail regular at our "coffee table," wrote: "The more people agree with this viewpoint and integrate it into their lifestyles, the better this world will be. It's like lighting a few lamps, and those lamps in turn lighting more lamps, to spread the light of love and chase the darkness away."
From Ontario, sage octogenarian Helen Hare wrote: "This sounds like a very touching and effective lady, and I hope her words of wisdom can be spread far and wide. What a difference it would make in this world of dysfunctional families."
Then there's this enthusiastic response from Sandy Corenblum, our column's advisor in Jewish matters and a passionate advocate for quality family life:
"Fabulous, absolutely fabulous," she wrote. "I am so moved by the imagery of peanut butter sandwiches being like hugs in the home, the coffee-cup imagery for peace in the home. We call it in Hebrew shalom bayit. Shalom means "peace," of course, and bayit means "home." It is something to strive for and live by."
Let me tell you a bit more about Sandy, for, as one of my treasured mentors in life, she has exemplified an especially beautiful gift she has inherited from her tradition: God's gift of the Sabbath.
Sandy and her husband, Calgary endocrinologist Bernie Corenblum, live very full lives and could easily fall victim to the familial disconnection of professional busy-ness, if it were not for the lifestyle of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath in Jewish tradition is the day of rest, one day in seven, that begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown the next day 24 hours uninterrupted by the usual affairs of the world. The phone is turned off; car keys are stashed in a drawer. The holiness of familial wholeness is everything.
I asked Sandy if she'd comment on the importance of the Sabbath to her, and here's her reply:
Thank you, Sandy, for the inspiration of your example and your tradition. May all of us who join you around our coffee table have one regular time that we also set aside especially for the sacred enjoyment of family togetherness.
© 2006 Warren Harbeck