Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kids in Shul

I look forward to the day when I can bring my children to shul and teach them proper shul decorum. I am a firm believer that if you want your children to act a certain way, you need to act that way yourself. If you constantly minyan-hop, trying to start as late as possible but end as early as possible, your children will learn that shul is a place where a minimal amounts of time are to be spent. On the other hand, if, with kids in tote, you arrive to shul on-time, refrain from talking, etc., you're children will learn the proper decorum.

That being said, I believe children need to be of an appropriate age in order for them to fully soak in these lessons. To bring a 3-year old child to shul - as nice as it sounds and as big of a burden it is off the shoulders of your wife - it isn't appropriate. There is no feasible way that children are learning from this experience, and they are probably ruining other shul-goers tefilos. I recall in shul on a recent shabbos almost a full row filled with a certain man's children - not one above the age of 7 (or at least that is how old they appeared to me). Is it possible that anything more than giving the wife a break is going on? These kids were chatting the entire time, interrupting the concentration of those around them, only to be repeatedly "shushed" (which is bothersome in its own right).

Sure, a certain amount of decorum is learned a shul, and we don't necessarily need to wait until children are perfect little angels before bringing them. But at 2, 3, and 4 years old? Come on - it's simply too young. And, let's say that the decision is made for these children to come to shul; the children need to be removed from the shul immediately when they begin disrupting people - not repeatedly shushed. We make a big deal over cell phones in shul, as they are truly bothersome to all around. Why is a group of raucous 3-6 year-olds any different?


Blogger Jewboy said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Recently at shul a woman brought her young daughter to weekday mincha. Not an everyday occurence, but the kid was climbing all over the mechitza and making noise. I wantd to tell her that the mechitza is not a payground to bring your children. You are correct that kids will act as they see their parents act. One of the rebbeim in Ner Yisroel used to tell us that exact point: "If you talk in shul, your kids will also." Look at the kids that hock around shul, then look at their parents. Usually there's a correlation.

9:59 AM, July 04, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

I was recently at this bris, and there was this crazy kid running all over the place. I couldn't believe that his parents just let him run around like that, completely unsupervised. At one point, the parents couldn't even find him!

Anyway, Dani is really cute.

1:36 PM, July 04, 2006

Blogger The Fades said...

i was at a bris and the baby was crying very loudly b/c he didn't want to get circumcised...nevertheless, they did not remove him.

7:16 PM, July 04, 2006

Blogger aishel said...

I'm in total agreement here. Sometimes I'm afraid that if I bring my child to shul, they'll be influenced by everyone else in shul to talk and not daven. I think that in the begining, kids should be taughtthat going to shul is a privilege, and then start them off slow... first friday night, maybe shabbos mincha, or just maariv. Going to a whole long davening such as shabbos shacharis is way too long for kids who don't have long attention spans.

8:05 PM, July 04, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am totally in agreement. I remember years ago, in the old building of our shul, our former Rebbetzin, Mrs. Bak, said to a meeting of women: "your husbands make lousy babysitters, don't send your children to shul with them". If the wife wants to go to shul, let the husband go to an early minyan and then stay home and "babysit". Kids only belong in shul when they know how to behave (of course we have many parents who don't belong for that reason also!!)

8:15 PM, July 04, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Aishel - isn't your kid like, 3 months old? If he/she is already at the stage of being influenced, he/she is a true prodigy.

10:44 PM, July 04, 2006

Blogger aishel said...

You know how parents are, we like to think of our kids as the best ;) She's actually 6 weeks.

But what I meant in my post was that when the time does come for her to go to shul, I'd be afraid to, based on everyone else's behavior (not to say that I'm perfect in davening, but I do try)

11:14 PM, July 04, 2006

Blogger SephardiLady said...

I don't see any learning experience for children that don't even know tidbits of the tefillah and think that in many families taking the kids to shul, while couched in terms of learning, is really just a way to get them out of the house.

I think the preferable thing for those mothers that either need the rest or who want to go to shul themselves is for the husbands to go to hashkamah. Another benefit to hashkamah is that when the kids are ready for a little bit of learning (10, 15, or 20 minutes of a shachrit) is that the father can take the child, sit with them, and actually teach them the service (e.g. let's say Shema and then the Amidah -or- let's sing Ein Keiloheinu, etc, etc, and Adon Olam).

When the parent is not distracted by their own tefilla, they can actually pull the child out of the service if they are restless or even disrespectful of the Beit Knesset. When the parent is too distracted by their own tefillah, the kid does not get the discipline they need and is just a disturbance.

As for why Rabbis don't speak out? Let's face it, who wants to offfend your membership. . . especially those with the money.

7:43 AM, July 05, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

Aishel-Although there are a number of people at shul who behave totally inappropriately, I believe that if the parent sets the right example, his kid is likely to follow suit. Not always the rule, but look at the kids who behave well in shul and those who don't, then look at their parents.

9:14 AM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Alan, I couln't disagree more wholeheartedly!! I think that minyan-hopping teaches children how to maximize efficiency and productivity. When I bail out from one shul to the next, my child sees how I use my time wisely. I mean, why bother to stick around for some preachy drasha when I can wake up at nine, catch Mussaf and some chulent within about an hour and a half, AND reserve seats for my buddies on the prized scotch table. My son can't get a better education than that- seeing his old man in action. So I say, the earlier they can learn, the better!

10:09 AM, July 05, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Anon - I like your style.

10:11 AM, July 05, 2006

Blogger aishel said...

"As for why Rabbis don't speak out? Let's face it, who wants to offfend your membership. . . especially those with the money."

I must say, I'm very impressed with a certain rabbi who this past shabbos personally called repeat offendors at their house before shabbos and told them specifically not to talk in shul. Poor rabbi, he has to give the don't talk in shul speech every six months :(

10:58 AM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I really hate?

Ok, I like to start my shabbos davening travels at the 9:00 o' clock shomrei minyan (I usually try not to come before 10:00 as pesukai dzimra can get real boring, real fast). After catching up with some good buddies and being present for a good portion of layning (listening to the haftarah is so not necessary), I jump to the 8:15 to catch mussaf, with my kids in tow. (Listen, when minyan is over, I have like three different kiddushes to catch. There is no way I am waiting for my kids to finish in the sloooow minyan.)

Anyway, what really bothers me though is the angry looks I seem to get from the regular mispallelim of the 8:15 minyan when I shmooz and laugh with my friends during kedusha. What is their problem? Cmon! As if they take davening seriously?! I highly doubt it.

The only possible conclusion I can come up with is to why these people are constantly shushing me is that they are jealous of how popular and cool I am. To be Honest, I can't blame them. They are right. There is a reason why I get invited to all these kiddushes and they don't.

Either way, I can only hope that my children grow up to be the same good, G-d fearing Jew that I am. Amen.


11:06 AM, July 05, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Anon, again, I like your style. Funny stuff.

11:10 AM, July 05, 2006

Blogger SephardiLady said...

I respect a Rabbi who will point out wrong when it is called for. But, most unfortunately, they are few and far in between.

11:13 AM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothink like a little bain odom lachavero to get us ready for the three weeks.

1:57 PM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good point fades. I officially welcome myself to the Lazerow community. Keep up the good work Laz, good stuff here.


1:59 PM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:57- To address the Bain odom l'chaveiro issue: Judging from the whole kiddush seat reserving fiasco, it appears that this blog's readership includes some or at least one member of the crowd in mention. Maybe this dialogue will strike a chord with them. Maybe they'll think twice before rolling out before Haftorah in front of their kids. Maybe we will ALL respect Tefilla a little more after this. Maybe I will someday meet up with my buddy Andy in Zihuatanehu. Maybe...

2:35 PM, July 05, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That will only work if you are sure that they are reading this blog. Even then it will only cause more bad feelings between all parties concerned. Some people will not change no matter how wrong they may be. A person can not see his own shortcomings, even when he is setting a bad example for his children, or other children.

3:13 PM, July 05, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

Anon with the M-Funny stuff.

Second to last Anon-Love the "Shawshank" reference.

What's with all the Aonons here?

3:19 PM, July 05, 2006


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