Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take A Kid To Shul

R' Horowitz had discussed and I've linked this issue many times, but it never hurts to get a reminder:
I’ve lost track of the times in the eleven years since Project Y.E.S. was founded that I was approached by single mothers who requested that I help make arrangements for someone to take their son(s) to shul. Countless others have asked me for an eitzah regarding the appropriate response to their son who categorically refuses to go to shul alone.
When I was in Israel, I would go last days of Yom Tov to my cousin in Neve Yaakov. She was trying to work, take care of her seven kids ages 2 to 16, and in the process of getting divorced (and the second year I was around, received her get). There was a huge difference in the sons' demeanors when they would daven with someone next to them (a neighbor, me) and when they'd be on their own. The difference in happiness when they'd go on someone's shoulders for Simchas Torah instead of just standing on the side was immeasurable; the, for lack of a better word, blah look when they would sit there alone was deadening. It doesn't take much to go over to a kid and invite them to sit with you; while for me it was easy, since it was family, there were a couple of other men in the shul who walked over and had my cousins join them and/or their kids.

Little things can have huge impacts. Don't underestimate your own ability to do them.


  1. I read the piece by R'Horowitz, and it was truly lovely. Compassionate without being pitying.

    We need more of this in our communities.

  2. As a mom who has been down this road, I can tell you that this is a HUGE issue for boys who have no father to go to shul with. Ezzie is so right. Please, open your eyes, look around your shul and your community, and make a consistent effort to include these boys. It makes an enormous difference.