Volume 41 Number 02
                 Produced: Fri Oct 31  6:04:06 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Children in Shul (5)
         [Aliza Fischman, Olivestone, David, Harlan Braude, Martin D
Stern, Carl Singer]
Children's behaviour
         [James Kennard]
Hair Covering
         [Esther Posen]
Kosher restaurants (was Re: Children in resteraunts)
         [Sam Saal]
secular knowledge (was Re: Children in Shul)
         [Sam Saal]
Substandard English (2)
         [<Smwise3@...>, Gil Student]


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 09:54:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Children in Shul

From: <swirskyr@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
>>From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
>>Your answer is "NO", you would not tolerate such behavior in other 
>>venues - why tolerate this in shule?

>Because people have an obligation to be there.  Do not get me wrong, I
>do not think children should be allowed to run free in shul... they
>need to be monitored and looked after by their parents, however I do
>think there needs to be more leeway as their parents (or at least
>father's) are obligated to be there.  It is more akin to a polling
>station or entist appointment than the theatre... we have no obligation
>to go to the theatre.

Yes, the fathers DO have an obligation to be there.  The children do
not.  As much as I enjoy going to shul to daven with the kehilla, I know
that I, as a woman and a mother do not have the same obligation as my
husband.  Gone are the days (for now) when we walked to shul together to
be there at the very beginning.  Do I miss that experience?  Yes.
However, now that we have been incredibly blessed with the children, I
know what I need to do.  Would I trade being a mother for being in shul?
Never.  My oldest is just beginning to sit in shul with my husband.  She
is 5 years old.  She knows how to act in shul because she has been
taught respect and reverence for the very building.  She knows that if
she wants to play, she goes to the shul's basement where there are
groups for her age.  As much as I would like to bring my 2 1/2 year old
and my baby with me into the sanctuary, I know the neither one of them
belongs there.  So, unless my husband davens at hashkama, my choices
are, daven as an individual, or get a babysitter - because my husband
has the chiuv, my children and I don't.

From: Olivestone, David <davido@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 15:55:00 -0500
Subject: Children in Shul

 In Vol. 40, no. 94, Joseph Kaplan wrote:

>>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.. . .<<

My friend Joseph seems to have led a charmed existence. At the very
least, it seems he has been davening in the right shuls, rather than the
wrong ones. However, I am familiar with some of the shuls in which he
has davened, as I have davened in them, too, so I have to assume that
his kavannah is such that he simply does not see what bothers the rest
of us so much.

My horror story from this Rosh Hashanah (admittedly not in a shul that
Joseph frequents) involves parents (specifically fathers) who allowed
their youngsters to run around the shul at will, with little more than
an arm outstretched to try and restrain them as they ran down one aisle
and up the other. When these kids began to crawl around on the floor
under the benches near where I was davening the Musaf amidah, I had
enough, stopped davening and simply yelled at them. It took me several
minutes to recompose myself so that I could return to the amidah, but
afterwards, those near me told me they were grateful for my

The point is that the fathers, one of whom was just a few feet away,
were clearly aware of what their kids were doing, and how much they were
interfering with others, but either they subscribed to some of the more
bizarre theories regarding children's behavior in shul that have been
posited on this list in recent weeks, or they just did not care. But if
I were to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they did care, it
seems they must believe that interrupting their own amidah to take their
children out of shul would have been halachically worse than allowing
their children to spoil the amidah of dozens of others.

One more thing. At least one shul rabbi has joined in this
discussion. Some rabbis do not mind playing policeman, while others
insist it's the role of the gabbaim. My observation is that rabbis often
miss some of the most egregious behavior in shul as they spend much of
the davening facing the wall. I have encouraged (without success) rabbis
of my acquaintance to daven just one amidah in the center of the shul on
one Shabbat so that they can see for themselves what goes on as
individuals complete their own tefillah belachash (silent amidah). With
no regard for others nearby who are still davening-and perhaps using the
last few moments to pray for a sick loved one-conversations are begun,
often not even in a whisper, with someone two seats away, or even two
rows away. Our rabbis may not like this burden being thrust upon them,
but the only way we will have orderly, quiet shuls is if the rabbis
enforce such a policy. Rabbis who do this may lose some members along
the way, but I would venture to suggest that the overall power of the
prayers generated in such shuls would be increased, not diminished.

David Olivestone

From: Harlan Braude <h.braude@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 05:35:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Children in Shul

> >Your answer is "NO", you would not tolerate such behavior in other
> >venues - why tolerate this in shule?
> Because people have an obligation to be there.  Do not get me wrong, I

At the risk of being inflammatory (apologies in advance)...

I think this response begs the question: does everyone have an
obligation to be there?

From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 08:11:53 EST
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

In mail-jewish Vol. 40 #97 Digest the argument on Children in Shul has
continued unabated. It strikes me that most contributors seem to be
talking about attendance on Shabbat morning. Surely this is the wrong
time to introduce a child to shul because the davenning takes far too
long for them. If parents tried taking their children to minchah on
Shabbat they might find that their child will learn more about how to
behave in shul. The impression this correspondence creates is that the
adults don't go to shul at any other time; I hope that this is not true.

    Martin D Stern

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 07:37:43 -0500
Subject: Children in Shul

From: <swirskyr@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
> >From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
>>Your answer is "NO", you would not tolerate such behavior in other
>>venues - why tolerate this in shule?

> Because people have an obligation to be there.  Do not get me wrong, I
>do not think children should be allowed to run free in shul... they need
>to be monitored and looked after by their parents, however I do think
>there needs to be more leeway as their parents (or at least father's)
>are obligated to be there.  It is more akin to a polling station or
>entist appointment than the theatre... we have no obligation to go to
>the theatre.

I read this differently.  Since OTHERS (also) have an obligation to go
to shule, it behooves me not to disturb THEM.  Others can avoid noisey
restaurants, theatres and similar venues.  They can walk out of
restaurant, .... not so with shule.

I believe much of this discussion re: children learning in shule (our
obligation to teach our children by taking them to shule) seems to be
very all or nothing.  And I see parents acting accordingly.  Rather than
bringing a small child for, say, an hour of davening (dosage can
increase with age / maturity) they bring they bring their children for
hours on end -- and it's beyond their endurance -- and everyone else's.
I'm especially puzzled by fathers who drag (my characterization) their
pajama clad children to Friday night services in the summer when Shabbos
starts after 8PM.

Carl Singer


From: James Kennard <James@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:49:35 -0000
Subject: Children's behaviour

In Vol 40 #97, Michael Kahn writes

      On a positive note, the yeshiva in which I teach just got a new
      secular studies principal who is very strict and is really
      changing the away the kids behave in the afternoon.

Why should behaviour be different in the afternoon (i.e. in the secular
lessons) from the morning (i.e. the Kodesh lessons)? Is this not part of
the problem?

James Kennard


From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:14:19 -0600
Subject: RE: Hair Covering

Though I agree with Carl Singer that

"Judging people (stam) is a problem.  Judging their frumkite based on
their outward appearance and OUR own interpretations of halacha is

There is still a difference between hair covering which clearly has a
basis in halacha despite it once being highly unpopular and

  "he davens without a gartel?  How can he be frum he doesn't wear a
black hat?  How can he be frum, he davens in a sports jacket?"

which sensible practioners of the above practices will tell you is
custom.  They may want you to observe their custom when davening at
their amud, etc., but I never met a chasid (and I've met many) who
claims that wearing a shtreimel is a halacha.



From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 07:58:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Kosher restaurants (was 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.

This brings up a related, personal peeve regarding Kosher restaurants. I
haven't been to a fancy Kosher restaurant in a while so I hope this has
become less of a problem, especially with the proliferation of Kosher

Having said that, Kosher restaurants have a higher overhead than
non-kosher ones (the cost of the mashgiach and kosher meat, for
example).  When a new restaurant opens the food is often tasty and the
service is excellent. Over time, however, I've noticed things
deteriorate. The owner tries to cut costs knowing he has a captive
audience. This works, at first, but sooner or later these cuts in
quality or service become noticeable and the place loses business. More
often than not, this forces the owner to try cutting the same costs, but
this is already well into the death spiral. Obviously, other factors are
involved, but this seems avoidable, at some level.

Has anyone else noticed this? Has the proliferation of Kosher
restaurants and the increase in competition done anything to solve this
problem or does competition aggravate it?

Admonishing people to frequent Kosher restaurants under the "use it or
lose it" paradigm is of limited value. Not everyone has an expense
account (:-) and families are particularly effected by the high costs
with proportionately more mouths to feed.

Is this a problem we can solve? Is this an appropriate discussion for
this forum?

Sam Saal


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 07:59:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: secular knowledge (was Re: Children in Shul)

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

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>

>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

OK, this scares me.  I do not expect people on this list (as opposed,
say, to a poetry list) to be familiar with all of Browning's poetry. I
do hope the vast majority of English-as-a-first-language adults, if not
others, would know this name.

I hope this isn't too political for mail.jewish, but one of the current
world concerns is that Islam has been hijacked by a conservative strain
that teaches little more than rote learning of their holy books (and a
limited set of them, at that). This reverses Islam's rich history in
science and literature. I do not believe Judaism is there yet, but
statements like the above, worry me.

Sam Saal


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 11:14:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Substandard English

> I don't now where this young man goes to school, perhaps he's home on
> break from some Brooklyn Yeshiva -- but is English that neglected in
> some of our schools?  Carl Singer

I'll not dwell on the dig at Brooklyn yeshivos--it probably is a problem
in yeshivos outside of Brooklyn as well.

In any case, there is at least one yeshiva in Brooklyn that makes
English optional after 9th and 10th grade, but that alone could not
explain the poor usage.  Teachers can teach, but students have to
actively learn.  Why generalize when it could be this student just has
poor usage?  He wouldn't be the first or the last, student or otherwise,
Brooklyn or elsewhere.


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 12:00:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Substandard English

If you are learning English for the first time as an adult then you will
follow all the rules as set down in textbooks and as taught by teachers.
If you grow up with English as your first language then you will use it
as you hear it in the street and from your friends.  Does this include
colloquialisms and incorrect usages?  Yes.  Why should Jews speak a
different language than other Americans?  I speak with my Gentile
neighbors in Brooklyn and their English ain't so good neither.

Gil Student


End of Volume 41 Issue 2