Appropriate or not?

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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 2:10 am
Is it just me, or is something wrong here?

Chabad is doing a reading of the 10 hadibrot in the afternoon for all the kids. Great, it sounds like a good time, in the main park, with a chance to meet other young families. But...

As prizes they are giving each child who comes a small water pistol. And they are raffling off a grand prize of a large water bomb/water gun.

First of all, how is that appropriate to the chag and the message of matan Torah? Second of all, how is that an appropriate gift for young children (even in Israel)? By young I mean let's say under age 10...and remember they have invited ALL children, regardless of age, so this is what they are proposing to give to the babies too! And third, where's the chinuch value in this?

I saw in another thread that the Rebbe said it was obligatory for all to hear the aseret hadibrot on Shavuot. Great; I happen to think it's a great idea. And I do like the idea of a kids reading. But there's something wrong here...I think.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 3:06 am
There was an organization in our town which organized a learning contest for children and advertised the gathering which was the prize for taking part. (Not Lub, before I get jumped on.) I thought the 'entertainment' was inappropriate (not so terrible, but not something I'd like my sons' to go to) and it made me wonder about the whole organization. I made a mental note not to let them take part in something else organized by this group.

I think if someone wants to hold an event etc l'sheim shamayim, then we can never say that the means justify the end. It says in the Gemorra that one of the Tannaim (forgot his name) wanted to make sure Torah wouldn't be forgotten. So he prepared parchment himself, wrote on it himself etc so that all the preparations for teaching would also be l'sheim shamayim.

Someone who wants to attract children has to put a lot of thought into what they give them and the message it passes on.

My son took part in Avos U'vanim this winter and they had a sticker album with mitzvos bein adam l'chaveiro which he eagerly collected. So you had it all - something to attract the boys to learn, while the prize in itself was educational.

Marion, it's not just you....
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 3:32 am
I agree that the prizes were not ones I would like my kids to have.... but just out of curiosity, what kind of prized would you suggest? Would you feel differently about a skateboard, for instance?

Personally, I don't think all prizes have to be "meaningful" since the event itself is meaningful. So what if it is a plastic toy or a skateboard for instance...bittul Torah is not an issue yet.

I don't like guns, though...
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 3:34 am
Mimivan, I agree - you can't always have meaningful prizes, but at least they shouldn't be negative, like guns.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 4:16 am
It does seem a bit funny. Why don't they just offer the kids arcticim that they can eat while listening to aseres hadibros?
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 8:20 am
There are so many jewish themed prizes out there that they could find something more appropo ... so I agree with you marion
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 9:14 am
I think water guns are different than guns. You use them to cool down on a hot day, not to kill someone.

I wouldn't let my kids have guns, but water guns are different.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 9:19 am
Inappropriate! I would not send my kids. shock
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 9:22 am
I would not send my kids..

I always have problems with the amount of candy at such events also!!
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 9:46 am
I just feel that there are so many other options...artikim (freezies, even though they're junk), a small sticker or a flag from simchat Torah (at least for the really little kids...really they won't know the difference).

I realize that the toys were probably donated so they took what they were offered, but I just think it sends the wrong message. And that it's not the right toy for the really little ones.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 9:46 am
I think the prize is inappropriate and if there is a number for the organization, I would call and say saomething.

It could also be a cultural difference, however, as in Israel guns are a lot more of a necessity (sadly) and here int he US there are a lot more parents who don't want their kids playing with even fake ones.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 10:11 am
I agree. Totally inappropiate.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 10:22 am
I would call them and let them know. Maybe it is being orginised by bochurim who have no idea that people don't like guns. Maybe they davka don't want to give out sugar.
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chocolate moose


Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 10:49 am
maybe it's just a come-on.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 4:31 pm
Ok, this is a bit unusual, but not weird or inappropriate. I'd go more for a Jewish-themed prize. Especially this toy is not yom-tov'dik.
But water guns as a toy by themselves are totally fine! It's a squirt toy. I'd never give a gun to my kids. They don't know what it is, even.
But a water gun- I bought a couple of them. My kids love water. My 3 yr. old even took 2 guns, put them tip to tip and said they're kissing! So much for violence!
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 4:40 pm
I have seen children turn all kinds of things into guns and weapons, even if they have no TV. Most parents would prefer prizes that do not involve toy guns, but I don't think that a big deal should be made. The children should use it to water the flowers.
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Post  Tue, May 22 2007, 6:24 pm
Marion - you posted this before Shavuos - did you call the organizers? They should definitely hear what you have to say (preferably before yomtov).

What happened to Aseres Ha'Dibros and ice cream parties? Never heard you have to provide prizes.

As for the type of prize, well, many kids (and parents) would be happy with Gameboys and similar things as prizes (obviously, not on yomtov), but I would not accept that. Can't please everyone, but I agree guns are something that many parents don't want.

To pasel an organization that does good things, because of inappropriate prizes, seems to me extreme.
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Post  Wed, May 23 2007, 2:42 pm
In the end we didn't go. There was no answer at the offices when I tried to call them before Yom Tov.

I'm not saying the organization is bad, but I think a bit more thought could have been put into how to make the prizes more appropriate and more relevant to the chag.
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Lechatchila Ariber


Post  Thu, May 24 2007, 9:56 pm
marion, are you sure it was shaped like a "gun"
there are water guns that aren't actually "guns" but just something to squirt water, which isn't so bad, even though I'd take issue with the name gun and bomb especially in Israel.

if they were styled like actual guns then I agree its not appropriate. especially on shavuos with the 10 dibros.
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Post  Thu, May 24 2007, 10:42 pm
....sometimes these organizations get donations of random items....maybe that was the case here?

I also don't think a water pistol is as bad as a toy pow-pow type gun. OK, I'd rather keep my kids away from either type, but I've never seen kids get violent with a water-squirting toy, other than to use it as intended!
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