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Rabbi asking female teens to babysit at shul
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 10:26 am
Is it right for our rabbi to ask our teen DD's to babysit the toddlers at shul on Shabbos for 1/2 the morning?

My DD was indirectly asked to babysit the toddler's at shul this weekend. It's been a long time since there was a critical mass that needed babysitting (due to COVID). Our shul has never had a good answer for the need for a babysitter and most certainly does not have a "children's program". It doesn't have enough resources or even good options to hire someone who could do such a thing. So it has fallen to volunteers (other parents, older kids)

So basically, a friend of my DD was asked to babysit along with DD this past Shabbos. This friend agreed to babysit for the both of them and then "forgot to ask" or basically didn't run it by my DD and my DD didn't find out about it until motzei Shabbos. What was she supposed to do?

My DD goes to shul to daven. She doesn't like kids and doesn't like to babysit.

I wanted tell DD to not do it and ignore the request since she never had a say to begin with and was not asked directly. But she relented and gave up half her morning to babysit (though I did not see any parent with toddler age children acutally inside the shul davening).

I'm miffed but on the other hand, I get miffed easily.

Should I tell the Rabbi on my DD's behalf to not ask her in the future? Should I let my DD handle it? Should I ask the Rabbi next time to make sure to ask each individual party? It's a little unfair in my opinion to ask the teens either way because they are going to defer to the "authority" and give in to what he asks.

Personally, I think parents should babysit their own kids. (That's what I had to do and plenty others along with me as well).

Signed,
Not a community team player
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Rutabaga




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 10:31 am
The mothers should take turns watching the kids or teenagers should be hired to watch them but teenage girls should not be guilted into watching the kids for free.
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tichellady




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 10:57 am
No. They should be offered payment.
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amother




Linen
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 10:59 am
There are plenty of girls who would prefer to babysit then Daven. Those are the girls that should babysit. And shul should offer payment
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amother




Natural
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:00 am
tichellady wrote:
No. They should be offered payment.


I must have missed that it was not a paid position. Def should be $. I’m sure there are kids in the neighborhood who can use the $, if OP daughter prefers to daven (rightfully so)
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amother




Plum
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:06 am
This is a strange concept to me but I’ve seen it before (single girls expected to babysit in shul).

I was once davening Friday night in shul when I was single and a rabbi just walked his 2 toddlers over to the ezras nashim and walked away. I’m glad his wife got the opportunity to relax Friday night but it should not be at my expense.

Mothers are obligated to care for their children while the father is davening. It is their mitzvah. If someone wants to do chesed and help that’s great. But davening is also a mitzvah.

If I were you I would speak to the rabbi.
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amother




Periwinkle
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:14 am
What the..? Each parent is responsible for their own kids! If the shul wants to offer babysitting - great, but pay the babysitters.

Shul is a place to daven.
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fiji




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:18 am
״כל העוסקים בצרכי ציבור באמונה הקבה ישלם שכרם...״
Just because you are “not a community team player” doesn’t mean you should be mechanech your daughter to not be one as well. No need to be miffed on her behalf for having been asked to do a chesed. If she doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine, and she can say no. But I do think that it’s proper to encourage all kids to be involved in the shul and help out in Any way they can.

Signed,
The one who used to watch the kids in shul as a teen


Last edited by fiji on Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:24 am
I agree with all the above. I used to belong to a big shul with a LOT of kids of varying ages. There was an extensive children's program, and also a teen minyan. Teenagers were encouraged to daven, not to babysit.

Mothers took turns, and there were a couple of women who were paid to organize the classes, get all the supplies, etc. The moms who helped, and the women who were paid, were always treated well, and honored at shul dinners. They were never treated like "free help" and taken for granted.

Nobody likes having kids running around hefker in the lobby. If you are bringing kids to shul, you need to be part of the solution. Do not expect others to do the job for you without giving something in return.
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amother




Khaki
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:26 am
I never liked babysitting as a child and people would tell me mom she should force me. She never did. I didn’t like kids or babies.

She shouldn’t watch someone elses kids over davening. IyH one day she will have her own kids and it’ll actually be hard to find time to daven
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:29 am
My DD despises babies, and only barely tolerates children if they are relatives, and she can deal with them only in small amounts of time. She would definitely need an adult to back her up.
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notshanarishona




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:37 am
Nothing wrong with asking teens to do a Chessed. You need to teach her to say no if she doesn’t want to.
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tichellady




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:43 am
notshanarishona wrote:
Nothing wrong with asking teens to do a Chessed. You need to teach her to say no if she doesn’t want to.


I don’t love the message it’s sending teenage girls that they belong with the children and not in shul. This is their time to daven without other obligations.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:50 am
Well, my main question then is, how should I address it?

1. Should I discuss with the rabbi directly- as in:
a) Next time please ask each individual party involved?
b) please don't ask my DD to babysit as she doesn't enjoy it and is at shul to daven

vs

2. Encourage DD to address it with her friend and emphasize that her friend is not allowed to speak for her. I anticipate this would be awkward for both girls and probably make her friend feel really bad when, in reality, the friend was put in a potentially awkward position to babysit because the Rabbi asked her (yet she is the type that enjoys little kids) and oops, she totally forgot to run it by my DD...

vs

3. Mention to the shul administration that they should consider offering payment for babysitting and anyone that is interested should contact them (rather than approaching girls who otherwise might feel obligated because it's the Rabbi asking).
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mom39




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:52 am
I think I am missing something. If children are too young to daven or be quiet in shul, or too young to be able to play outside without supervision, why are they being sent to shul? In my shul the only children there alone are old enough to be outside themselves. Any toddler is there with their mother or older sibling
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amother




Turquoise
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:55 am
Is the rabbi coming up to the girls in shul and asking them (which is weird imo, usually they are busy running things and talking to adult congregants if it's after services)?
Calling on the phone?
Is it the rabbi or the rebbetzin?
The girls/your response really depends on which scenario?
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amother




Bisque
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:57 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Well, my main question then is, how should I address it?

1. Should I discuss with the rabbi directly- as in:
a) Next time please ask each individual party involved?
b) please don't ask my DD to babysit as she doesn't enjoy it and is at shul to daven

vs

2. Encourage DD to address it with her friend and emphasize that her friend is not allowed to speak for her. I anticipate this would be awkward for both girls and probably make her friend feel really bad when, in reality, the friend was put in a potentially awkward position to babysit because the Rabbi asked her (yet she is the type that enjoys little kids) and oops, she totally forgot to run it by my DD...

vs

3. Mention to the shul administration that they should consider offering payment for babysitting and anyone that is interested should contact them (rather than approaching girls who otherwise might feel obligated because it's the Rabbi asking).



All three, I would think. But do try to offer something constructive, not just complaints.
The rabbi is trying to make it possible for mothers of young children to daven, and that is an admirable goal, even if he didn't go about it on the best way.
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abound




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 11:58 am
Many teens like to daven, when approached to babysit, they should say no.
Many teens do not enjoy davening with a minyan, but enjoy children and are happy to do a chessed. They can do a chessed.
Both options are good options, depending on the person.
Your daughter needs to tell her friend, I dont mind that I did it on a one off thing but I would rather daven in shul so please find someone else to do it with you for the rest of the time. She can be nice and assertive at the same time.
Rabbi can ask girls to babysit, if he does not have girls to do it so the moms will have to take turns or just not come to shul....NOt a big deal. He tried his luck and it worked.
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Elfrida




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 12:03 pm
How was it organized before Corona? You say there was never a good answer, but there must have been something.

It sounds like the Rav was doing his best to organize something, and it's not his fault that your daughter didn't know in advance. Given the situation, I think she did the right thing. The fault lies with her friend who didn't say anything to her in advance.

Having said that, I think the whole situation is wrong. If the shul feels a need to provide babysitting services, they need to have someone responsible for it and some kind of facilities. The person responsible doesn't have to be paid. It can be a voluntary position, ideally by one or two of the mothers who have children that age. When it is a regular person, they can plan a routine and have some form of davening and maybe a story. Something the children can actually benefit from, not just a couple of teenagers making sure the children aren't too noisy.

Perhaps it is time to suggest that this new start is the ideal time to rethink the child care situation in shul and put in the hands of a couple of responsible women.

Where I grew up there wasn't an eruv so this situation rarely arose, but if there are a lot if women coming with young children and babies, presumably they are coming more for the social interaction instead of the davening. There is no reason why they can't organise babysitting between them. Teenagers are allowed to take time to daven, and need not be called on to be a spare pair of hands whenever wanted.

We had a toddlers service and a children's service, each run by the same volunteer every week. The teenagers had their own minyan where they ran everything. It wouldn't have occurred to anyone to ask them to leave that minyan and babysit.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Apr 25 2021, 12:05 pm
IMO, best to encourage your DD to talk for herself, it's the most important way you can be mechaneich her.

She should say to her friend, "I feel bad I didn't speak up more clearly before, but I really want to daven in shul, and not babysit. Do you want to go together to talk to someone in the shul about it, or do you want to find someone else to do it with?". She can say something similar to the rav in addition, if needed.

No big deal.
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