Children taking over?

My friend Navleen who I have worked with on many interfaith projects over the last decade, sent me this link this week, to a piece about her Gurdwara. You can see her several times, and in the last scene she has her little son in her lap as she joins the other mums and children in actions that accompany their words. These insightful Sikhs have allowed their children to take over the Gurdwara once a month.

How we engage children in the lives of our places of worship is a really really important issue, and one which some members are going to have to make compromises over if they want the next generation to be engaged with and excited by their faith, culture and tradition. People may complain when a child is running up and down the ramp at our synagogue, or making a peep or two during the sermon, but I love it! It means our community might just have people wanting to attend in 40 years time. It took me 2 years of asking to get a regular play area set up just outside the doors of our main service so that children could play outside the service and parents still hear what is going on, and over-zealous congregants, wanting to ensure decorum, have driven young couples and their children away on more than one occasion that I personally know of.

And this issue goes beyond children. For many, people with special needs or mental health problems are also a challenge to welcome into services - but it is so important that they feel at home and welcomed, and I'm always delighted when I see that they are. The Judith Trust are going to be running a 3 workshop series, starting this month, at our synagogue, giving participants the confidence to feel they can be welcoming and inclusive. I really hope people will come along and not complain about disruptions to the services, but learn how to make people as comfortable and included as possible, whoever they are, whatever age they are, and wherever they come from.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I would rather have a bunch of noisy little ones in the schule than a cold decorous and empty shed.
    David Chapman

  2. I am totally with you and David on this one. Children and people of different abilities ADD something to synagogue life rather than detract, and being welcoming to ALL should be a given. We need to become more flexible in our understanding of what shul and service is about. It isn't just about hearing the Torah read, it's LIVING it, too; and that most certainly includes welcoming those different to ourselves, whatever that difference might be.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts