Volume 40 Number 94
                 Produced: Sun Oct 26  7:26:08 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Children in resteraunts
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Children in Shul (7)
         [Zev Sero, Joseph Kaplan, Mordechai Horowitz, Carl Singer,
Robert Tolchin, Michael Kahn, Bonnie Rogovin]
Kissing Children in Schule
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Shela"h on Children in Shul
         [Alan Cooper]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 12:23:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in resteraunts

 >From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
 >I am afraid that has reached the point that I am embarrassed, on pain of
 >Chilul Hashem, to bring my Non Frum friends into kosher restaurants for
 >fear that wild, out of control children will taint their view of the
 >Orthodox family.

I think that this concern is valid with regard to children.  The frum
community demands such a low standard of restaurant establishments, that
it is IMHO a chilul hashem to bring guests into most kosher restaurants
that I have seen (outside of Manhattan and Israel).

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Zev Sero <zsero@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 21:05:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...> wrote:

>>Full training will NEVER happen unless we continually thrust them into
>>a situation where they are expected to behave properly, knowing that
>>they won't be able to do it, but hoping that they'll get a bit better
>>each time.

> Thrusting a child into a situation in which we know "they won't be able
> to do it" regardless of what the 'it' is a terrible thing. You are
> torturing the poor kid. In life, as adults, we all know that the key to
> success is not biting off more than you can chew. The same applies to
> children, if not more so!

Robert Browning would disagree: A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
or what's a heaven for?

If your aim is to stretch your mouth and grow your chewing capacity,
then the key to success is to bite off just a little more than you can
chew; and once you can chew that much, biting off a tiny bit more.

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 15:30:10 -0400
Subject: Children in Shul

I have been following the children in shul thread with increasing

Although I have been davening in Orthodox shuls for over 50 years, I
guess I have been davening in the wrong ones.  Rarely, VERY RARELY have
I seen any of the horror stories that others have seen; children running
amok, disrupting the service, reeking of feces, disturbing kavanah etc.
etc.  My own observatyion (and it's nothing more than that) is that the
primary cause for noise in a shul is adult talking, and that if all the
adults would be quiet during the service, any noise made by children
would be relatively minimal.

It seems to me that all that's needed is a little common sense.  Saying
that no children should come to shul and that mothers should also not go
to shul (so they can watch their small kids) for perhaps 20 years
(dep[ending on the number of children) is foolish, as are statements
that children making noise and disturbing the service or the davening of
the nearby adults is perfectly all right because that is how children
learn.  I know we are all committed to halacha, but I would hope that
that commitment doesn't negate simple common sense.

Joseph Kaplan

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 14:41:04 -0400
Subject: Children in Shul

I think of this morning during Hoshana Raba.  Some children spent the
entire morning running around shul (they were about 10 years old)
talking with their friends all morning.  When I suggested to one they go
to the playground if they weren't praying they told me that they were
just talking because services were long.  What point was their to
bringing these children to shul.

Worse the children go so bored they got destructive.  Near the end of
services I looked up from my siddur to see one of the children
destroying my Etrog.  While I had benched today, my wife was going to
when she came home from work.  The child, not sitting near a parent)
apologized he didn't know it was mine, but had no answer when I asked
did he think it was his.  Of course it didn't matter because by the time
services were over another child had stolen it, I assume so Mom could
make Jam)

One poster has suggested children need to come to shul so mom can have a
break.  My suggestion bring the child to a park.  Better that you as a
father miss davening tefilla with a minyan, than your child interrup my
davening.  If you wife needs a break from your child, I understand your
need to help her but not to interfere with me.

Of course if people were parents their children could behave in shul.
When I grew up in a non Orthodox shul we never thought is misbehaving
the way Orthodox children do.  If I didn't behave my parents would kill
me.  This morning I didn't even bother telling the parents about their
child destroying my etrog because I knew they wouldn't care.

Recently I went to Brooklyn on vacation.  We stayed with some friends of
my wife.  Friday evening the husband was behind schedule and asked me to
take 4 of his children plus one friends child who was staying with them.
They ranged in age from 8 to 11.  You know what they did when we got to
shul.  They davened. No cheerios, no candy, no running and I didn't have
to shush them once.

They aren't the only ones who know how to behave.  I look around my
shul.  Some parents have children that sit nicely with them every
shabbat.  Others have all their children running like animals.  The
difference is parental expectations.  If you expect your child to treat
the shul like a playground, they will.  If you expect them to daven,
they will.

It's the same issue as in restaurants.  When I didn't keep kosher I
don't remember ever seeing non Jewish or non observant Jewish children
running around restaurant.  I certainly never saw them destroy booths,
run into the kitchen et al.  But Kosher, sure it's not someones
parnassa, it's like being at home.

We should be disgusted with ourselves by our childrens behavior.

From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 13:34:02 -0400
Subject: Children in Shul

>>To rephrase an old rejoinder -- would you tolerate this same behavior in
>>theatre or an elegant restaurant?

>No.  but there is no halahos about watching theatre in a minyan.
>Rachel Swirsky

Your answer is "NO", you would not tolerate such behavior in other
venues - why tolerate this in shule?  What does a "minyan" have to do
with it?  A group of people is gathered and trying to participate in an

When we go to Shule, or to a restaurant or to the theatre we are
subjected to the behavior (good or bad) of our fellow attendees.

Is participating in davening in shule somehow less important than the
other two examples.  Only in restaurant or theatre I can complain to the
management :)

Carl Singer
See my new home page www.mo-b.net/cas

From: Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 22:12:27 -0400
Subject: Children in Shul

> Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...> wrote:
> > Thrusting a child into a situation in which we know "they won't be able
> > to do it" regardless of what the 'it' is a terrible thing. You are
> > torturing the poor kid. In life, as adults, we all know that the key to
> > success is not biting off more than you can chew. The same applies to
> > children, if not more so!


How do we teach kids to sit up? We put them in a sitting position, and
let go. They flop over in 2 seconds. We then do it again. Sooner or
later, they learn to sit up. Same for walking, eating with a fork,
talking, driving a car, finding a shiduch, and everything else in
life. You reach for a little more than you know how to do, knowing that
it won't work at first, and then you learn and grow. Go to a playground
and watch...you'll see kids trying as hard as they can to climb ladders
that are a bit too high, swing the swing a bit higher, balance on the
balance beam even though they've fallen off 1,000 times, ride a bicycle
with the training wheels off, etc. This is normal, healthy behavior. My
daughter carried a shofar around for a few days before Rosh Hashanah,
trying and trying to make a sound. She didn't get frustrated; she just
kept trying, and now knows how to blow a shofar (a bit). Same with the
hula hoop that she kept at for months until she worked it out.

Now she's working on reading by sounding out words and she's learning to
read music too ("who lives on the first line? E. Who lives in the first
space? F, etc) and to play the piano. Is she going to read Shakespeare
or play Liszt soon? No. But she's striving. She might never get to
Liszt, but she'll get as close as she can.

I am NOT torturing my kids. I'm just making every effort to help them
maximize their potential. Kids want to grow and learn and meet
challenges.  It's their nature. Trust me, they're having fun every step
of the way. If you have your doubts, you're invited to come spend
Shabbat with us and see for yourself.

And by the way, my older daughter, Morielle, during havdalah tonight
blurted out "la-yehudim hayta ora ve-simcha" without prompting at the
appropriate time. This was the first time she did that. Having observed
nearly 200 havdalahs, she's learned the program. Then when I was putting
her to bed tonight, a Siddur that had been left on the bed fell to the
floor. She said that she had to kiss it. I asked her who told her that
one has to kiss a Siddur that falls on the floor, and she said: "nobody;
I saw someone in shul kiss a siddur." So, you see, taking her to shul is
good for chinuch--even though she was probably the one who knocked the
Siddur onto the floor giving rise to the occasion for someone in shul to
demonstrate that a Siddur must be kissed.

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:04:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

>Robert Browning would disagree: A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
>or what's a heaven for?

I'm not sure who Robert Browning was and what he meant about heaven.

To quote Chazal in support for my opinion, they say, "Ain Hakadosh
Baruch Hu Ba Batrunia Im Briyosav," meaning, Hashem doesn't give people
nisyonos, or tests that they are uncapable of passing.

Good Isru Chag,
Yitzchok Kahn

From: Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 23:46:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

Another thing not really mentioned much is Shul space and design.  Are
there good places for children to go when they need to stretch and play?
One person mentioned he was sent to the lobby.  The lobby, halls, stairs
are no place for playing. And rooms with hard, slippery floors, or items
not to be touched within reach are not ideal either.

I am one of those mothers who don't go to Shul often, not because I
believe women with young children should stay home, but because I feel
my needs have been ignored.  I am willing to leave when my child gets
fidgety, but I need a place to be able to go that will be safe and
comfortable for my child and me.  Not a closet, not a hall.  I'd also
like to have a women's section set up for easy exits. It probably would
keep children's attention more if they could see what is going on, which
is often not possible from a balcony, since only those sitting in the
first row can see anything. And then we are back to the easy exit issue.
If my children decide to switch who they will sit with, they must go up
or down some stairs, and then it is hard to see that they got to their
destination, as a responsible parent would want to do.  There are the
issues of running good babysitting and educational programming.  I feel
as if the set up of the building and the community is saying to me, men
need to have a minyan community, but women, especially with young
children should fend for themselves.

Bonnie Rogovin


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 19:06:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Kissing Children in Schule

Zev Sero  wrote:
      The Rema quotes the Magen Avraham?

that's what I read in the notes of the Sha'ar Tziyun, no. 3


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:29:27 -0400
Subject: Shela"h on Children in Shul

>From: Elozor Reich <countrywide@...>
>I am a little surprised that none of the numerous postings refer to the
>views of the earlier Poskim on this topic.
>See, for example, the views of the Shela (17th Century) quoted in Mishnah
>Brurah 98:3.

This is a small point, but the above comment perpetuates a slight
misrepresentation of the Shela"h that is found also in the Magen Avraham
and the Mishna Berura.  The characterization of children's behavior that
is mentioned in the former source and elaborated in the latter actually
is not by the Shela"h (Isaiah Horowitz), but is quoted by him from a
work called Derekh Chayyim by his older contemporary, Menachem de
Lonzano.  The amusing (or frightening, depending on one's perspective)
description of children running amok in synagogue is Lonzano's, not

Of course, Horowitz was a staunch advocate of strict disciplining of
children, including corporal punishment; he inherited this attitude from
his father, whose ethical will also prescribes strict discipline.
Horowitz himself famously described the proper parental attitude towards
children as "open reproof and hidden love," based on a verse from

The only other description of children running wild in synagogue
comparable to Lonzano's that I know is in the 18th-century work by Moses
Hagiz entitled Tseror ha-chayyim.  He describes children urinating and
defecating in synagogue, crying and generally raising a ruckus.  He
places blame on permissive parents, and also finds occasion to criticize
adults for sitting in shul and gossiping, as well as singing in
competition with the cantor!

Alan Cooper 


End of Volume 40 Issue 94