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Thursday, 3 December 2009

A student in Beernut’s Religious School class had been absent for a couple of weeks when he inquired after her.

FrumeSarah: “Pearl” is fine, but she won’t be coming to Religious or Hebrew school anymore.

Beernut: Why not?

FS (tactfully): Her family has decided that they are going to take a break from shul for a while.

Beernut: Why?

FS (still tactful): Some families have different ways of being Jewish. Pearl didn’t like getting up early on Sunday mornings [Emes. This is what the father told us!]

Poppyseed: What?!? She can sleep in on Shabbat. You know…because it’s like…the day of rest.

FS: That is true.

Beernut: Will she still be coming to shul on Friday nights?

FS: No. Friday night is family night in Pearl’s family. They like to go to the movies together.

Beernut: You mean someone would rather go to the movies than come to synagogue on a Friday night and have fun??

Poppyseed: Yeah. The oneg even has better snacks than at the movies.

Beernut: And they’re free too.

Before assuming that my kids enjoy going to shul JUST because their mother AND their grandfather are rabbis, give them the credit that they deserve. They really enjoy attending services. We have never imposed shul attendance on the kids. Neither did we ever express any negative sentiments about synagogue. Such as “I guess I have to go to synagogue this Friday because it’s my grandfather’s yahrtzeit.” That kind of language sets a mindset that going to shul is a chore. A duty. A drag.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Jews should be in synagogue on Shabbat. I am not one of those rabbis who says “well, whatever you do every seventh day that is different and relaxing and special is just fine.” That approach certainly eases the guilt of one who knowingly dismisses the traditional Shabbosdic rituals. And while we ought to engage in relaxing and special activities, there is more to Shabbat than that.

But another generation of Jews that is reared to resent Jewish practices and see them as burdensome is a generation that will be yet one more step removed from those things which define us.

Like Pearl…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Dadgifaffe permalink
    Thursday, 3 December 2009 10:24 pm

    I just loved what those kids said. I would have enjoyed the sentiments…even if I weren’t their Zayde!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Friday, 4 December 2009 2:32 pm

      Yay — that’s sweet. I feel the same way!

  2. Friday, 4 December 2009 8:27 am

    This is so great! My kids also love to come to services -regardless of the fact that I work here. They love to hand things out and greet people and make new friends. My daughter loves to sing in the junior choir and my 6 year old son sits nicely and sings alone – knowing one day he will be old enough to sing in the choir too.

    Shabbat services should be a treat not an obligation. It’s a shame that everyone doesn’t see it that way. Do you mind if I steal this topic for one of my columns? Hope you are well! Shabbat Shalom.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Friday, 4 December 2009 2:34 pm

      I’m so flattered! I’d love to see the final product.

      Things here are going swimmingly, B”H. How are things on your end??

      • Monday, 7 December 2009 12:44 pm

        Busy as usual. I have a little cold and could have gone to work today but decided to take a mental health day and recoup. Our house is a mess because we are redecorating my 8 year old daughter’s room and had to put all of her furniture, clothes, etc in different places around the house.

        Here is a ? for you. What do you do about parents talking during family services and not setting an example for their children. This drives me and many crazy. Some say not to mention it because we should be happy that they came – but I still think they should be respectful while they are there. Thoughts?

  3. Friday, 4 December 2009 3:42 pm

    I am wondering why you chose the name Pearl. That is the name of Hester’s daughter in The Scarlet Letter.

  4. Sunday, 6 December 2009 11:53 am


    I just found your blog via RivkA at Coffee and Chemo.

    Your blog looks wonderful.


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