Volume 40 Number 84
                 Produced: Fri Oct 10  9:53:48 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Children  In Shul
         [Evan Rock]
Children in Schule
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Children in Shul
         [Joshua Seidemann]
Children in Shul on Yomim Noraim
         [Gershon Dubin]
Children in Shule
         [Carl Singer]
Noise in Shul
         [Aliza Berger]
Noisy Kids, Noisier Parents
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Evan Rock <theevanrock@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 10:34:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Children  In Shul

As a man blessed with children I would like to add that children belong
in shul.  For bonding with the community, for learning social and
davening skills.  However the issues being raised about the presence of
children in shul have more to do with parenting and the roles of fathers
and mothers.

As a cub scout leader, as a baseball coach and as a parent in shul I
have seen a behavior that I cannot comprehend.  Parents who bring their
children to these activities and once there they abandon them.  The
children become someone else's resposibility!  The cub scout leader, the
coach and in shuls the "youth committee" are expected to fill in the
parenting role.  There is a lack of interest in being with one's
offsrpings.  Private conversations, kiddush clubs vie for the attention
of parents and win out.

These ignored children learn to cope on their own by being disruptive,
by climbing on roofs anything but what one would expect of well bred
children.  Again children belong in shul, next to dotting parents.


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 12:51:42 +0200
Subject: Children in Schule

Leah S. Gordon wrote:
 >Children are *part of the congregation* and are actually
 >required (by some opinions) to be in shul at least for the duchening
 >[priestly blessing] and shofar blowing.

Of course, at what age are these *children* obligated is a major question.

In our congregation, I pasted up a sheet with facsimile excerpts from
Rav Neurwirth's addition to Shmirat Shabbat called "Chinuch HaBanin
L'Mitzvot" and three dinim from the Mishna Brurah, Siman 98, 124 and
690.  If there are any real noisy problems with parents refusing to
fulfill their requirements to avoid tircha d'tzibur (troubling the
congregation - yes, the congregation has rights too), I hand it out,
wordlessly to avoid getting into verbal sparring.

To summarize all of the above concisely:-

a) children brought to schule are done so to educate them to stand in
dread and awe and when they are too young, it is better not to bring
them at all.

b) if in bringing them, all they do is run around, then they are being
taught that it is natural and usual to run around [my comment: which is
better done at the playground].  They may grow up and repeat this
behavior as normative, the opposite of what the educational purpose is
in bringing them.

c) the parent should primarily keep his children next to him and
supervise them and teach them to answer Amen at the appropriate places
as well as Kedusha.

d) children should not be kissed in schule.  Children in diapers are a
major problem in terms of "uncleanliness" rules.

e) the Shelah was adamant against young children in schule as they abuse
the sanctity of the place and they get people mixed up

f) children who run about are better left at home or outside

g) little children should be brought to hear the Megillah but since all
the children want to do is "hit Haman", a parent does not fulfill the
mitzva of education his progeny

The whole problem is what is "little children".  One option is age,
which most usually term as somewhere around nine.  Another option is
behavior - which may even include a 12 year old or a 32 year old for
that matter.

Obviously though, the examples we have been discussing this past week
point to a more stringent response commensurate with the severity of the
Day and the irresponsibility of the parent combined with the patterns of
the children's activity.

Yisrael Medad

From: Joshua Seidemann <quartertones@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 05:22:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

I don't know if there's a limit of entries on a topic, but to 

      Shall we say that a Baal Teshuva not be allowed into shul until he
      or she is able to daven without needed to ask any question? Should
      a diabetic not be allowed in to shul because he or she might need
      to eat periodically? Or how about the elderly who might need to go
      in an out to go to the washroom? Are we to keep out the mentally
      challenged? Those with Turrets? Where do we draw the line?

  . . as well as other posters -- I submit, respectfully, that there is
a healthy medium between disruptions and acceptable levels of occasional
noise (if a whispered question of, "What page are we on," or, "Are we
standing or sitting for this part?" qualifies as noise).  A Ba'al
Teshuva who asks a question cannot be compared to a child who babbles
loudly and incessantly (as mentioned previously, I am a father of such
babbling child).  Further, the comparison of a diabetic or elder to a
noisy child is, frankly, insulting.  And, I have worked with the
mentally challenged, at various developmental levels, but none of whom
reached the level of being able to be counted halachigly for a minyan.
The rule of the facility was that we took them to shul every Shabbos,
but if there was a disturbance, we took them home.  And if we missed
tefillah b'tzibur that week, then we missed tefillah b'tzibbur because
our obligation to our clients was greater.  My tone here is addressed to
the issue, not the author of the email -- no personal affront is

When I was a kid (I am sounding very old now), shul was for davening --
you wanted to play, you went outside to the lobby.  And if you made too
much noise there, then you were kicked out to the yard.  And if your
behavior there was inappropriate, then you were marched back into shul
to your father or mother by the gabbai or any other adult, and all kids
were fair game for any grown up.  None of these rules kept me from
learning how to daven -- rather, they taught me that the beis k'neses is
for davening (indeed, participation of the kids was encouraged --
pre-bar mitzvah boys held the sefer Torah during haftorah, made kiddush
Friday night, finished up with Ein Kelokeinu, and even leined the
haftorah at 12 (an adult would receive the maftir aliyah).

I witnessed a wonderful moment the other day -- a fellow davener brought
his 3+ yr. old son to shul.  Toward the end of davening, one of the
older guys in shul ambled over to the boy to strike up a conversation
(probably along the lines of, "How old are you, would like a candy,
etc."  The father smiled and signalled silently (and courteously) to the
older fellow to please wait until the end of the last kaddish -- to my
eyes, the father desired that his son learn even from this early age to
postpone conversation until after tefillah concludes.

It was good example for me.


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 18:18:49 GMT
Subject: Children in Shul on Yomim Noraim

> From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
<<The pain and isolation a young woman with a baby feels when she has to
stay home on Rosh Hashana is real.  Women need to make peace with that
pain and understand that it is g-d's will and that raising and caring
for their child is the most important thing they could be doing with
their time.>>

The haftara on the first day of Rosh Hashana tells of Channah coming
with her husband every Yom Tov to Shiloh, and of her prayers for a
child.  She was answered with the birth of Shmuel.  She then did NOT
come until he was old enough for her vow to be fulfilled, i.e. to bring
him to mishkan and dedicate his life there.

In the interim, despite her previous practice of "coming to shul" when
it was anything but a common practice, she understood that she needed to
be home with her baby.



From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 16:13:17 -0400
Subject: Children in Shule

It's not that children don't belong in shule -- it's determining what's
a reasonable shule experience for a young child (and for the
congregation as a whole.)

I've seen the full gamut of parental behavior ranging from the Father
who ran out of the sanctuary in the middle of his Amidah because his
child whimpered and he was afraid the whimper would become a cry -- to
parents who thought the shule was an orphanage and left their five year
old alone in shule while they went about whatever their business was.

GIVEN FACT: (When they were little) -- My children sing in shule -- your
children scream.

A 3,4,5 year old child cannot be expected to sit through 3 to 6 hours of
davening (Shabbos - Yom Tov) -- I'd worry about a kid who COULD sit
still for 6 hours.

In many communities because of paid or volunteer children's groups or
because the parents (Mothers AND Fathers) have banded together to take,
say, 15 minutes shifts watching the children -- the choice is NO longer
(a) Take the children to shule or (b) stay home and miss davening.

When our children were little my wife would take them to shule just in
time to catch Adon Olam and kiddush.  As they grew a bit older (and
perhaps walked a bit faster) they'd come progressively earlier.

ALSO -- what to do / not to do with a noisey child -- TAKE HIM / HER
OUT.  His / her need for self expression and your need to daven does NOT
mean that 50 to 100 other people have to have their davening disrupted.
"Susshing" or candy bribes don't work.  Kid makes noise -- LEAVE.

Gabbaim and / or the Rabbi (and perhaps a female person designated for
the other side of the Mechitza) need to ask / usher people out when
there is noise -- and stop davening if its disrupted.  No one likes to
be the "heavy" -- but there is no reason to be a doormat to other
people's insensitivity.

I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man -- but plain truth is that I
love well behaved children in shule and cannot abide the parents of
those who aren't.

The shule leadership needs to have policies and needs to speak up.

P.S. -- a pet peeve -- Fathers who bring little children (sometimes
dressed in pajamas) to Kabalas Shabbos on late Friday nights.  It's
clear that Mother has said something to the effect of get these kids out
of the house or you won't have dinner -- but why should we all suffer.

Carl Singer


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 23:14:41 +0200
Subject: Noise in Shul

Rabbi Ed Goldstein wrote:
<<It's not the kids.  It's the adults; they are too noisy>>

I have found this to be true in some (far from all) synagogues in the
US.  Less true in Israel, where adults are quieter, even in shuls with
long services and lots of Anglos. What are others experiences? What are
the reasons?

Aliza Berger, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 21:54:08 +0200
Subject: Noisy Kids, Noisier Parents

While I would agree in the main with Rabbi Goldstein that

      Adults make noise in shul.  It's not the kids.  It's the adults;
      they are too noisy and they don't provide a quality alternative to
      parents for the kids during davening.  If they did, this issue
      would never be raised.

especially the shushing noises.  In my experience, decibel counting, the
parent always makes more noise in trying to quiet his child but, and
this is a very big "but", based on over 40 years of experience as a
congregant, most of the children who do make noise do so because: a) the
parent is too busy concentrating on his/her davening and kavanot to be
bothered with their own child.  It always amazes me that what I hear
from 15 feet away, the parent can't seem to hear from a distance of 3
feet.  Either their hearing is overly influenced by their ritual
devotional activity or I am in need of repentance.  b) the parent, even
when finally dealing with the recalcitrant rambunctious child, usually
manages to make the exit as lengthy and noisy as possible.

when I once questioned Rav Bin-Nun here in Shiloh, he said that the
parent has an obligation to immediately remove a noisy child even to the
extent of doing so by carrying out the child quickly in the middle of
Shmoneh Esreh but the parent most not talk as talking is what is
prohibited, not the removing of oneself from the prayer position which
can always be corrected.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 40 Issue 84