Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Random Yom Tov Thoughts

We have a child in our shul, about ten years old, who has (I believe) Down's Syndrome. He's an adorable kid and is well-liked by everyone in shul. To look at him, you wouldn't know his age; you'd assume he was about six. He usually stands on a chair at the opposite side of the bimah from me when I'm laining and watches and listens intently while I lain.

So, this year, he came to shul with his stuffed Torah for Simchas Torah dancing. One of the happiest moments that I had during the dancing was watching him, with his stuffed Torah, dancing happily with a huge smile on his face, as a group of six to ten year olds danced around him. It was very heartwarming to see. Very often, kids that age can be very cruel to someone who is different, but they made him feel like he was the center of the world as he davened with his Torah. Seeing that the other kids chose (even if only for a short dance) to make him feel special really warmed my heart.

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I found that it's very heartbreaking to see *very* young kids who stay in shul for yizkor.

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It's interesting where little theological battles will break out. During one of the hakafos on Simchas Torah night, a group of Chabad bochrim came into our shul and began dancing. As it happened, the song that was being sung at the time was "Olam Habah is a gutta zach..." The Chabad bochrim started singing it too, but in a slightly different version. So it went, with the rav emphasizing his version and the Chabad group emphasizing theirs. No harsh words (or any words other than the song) were said, no one made any untoward gestures and no one made any faces, but make no mistake, there was a subtle little battle being played out.

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One of the saddest things I heard over Yom Tov: shvartzes have no relationship to HaShem. This from a little kid.

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At home, we try very hard to drill manners into our kids... especially table manners. Yet, there are times that they fail and forget something. But it's nice to know that when we go to someone's house for a Yom Tov meal, they can act like perfectly civilized gentlemen and ladies. Good job kids! I'm proud of you.

The Wolf

4 comments:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

One of the saddest things I heard over Yom Tov: shvartzes have no relationship to HaShem. This from a little kid.

Ick.
Sounds like some of the accusations people make against Mormon doctrines.

What were the differences between the Chabad and Non-Chabad songs?

tesyaa said...

I'm glad your heart was warmed. As a parent of kids with special needs, I know that a short moment in shul is not enough to make these kids truly feel part of the frum community. Many of them attend public school and are not welcome for play dates, even when they have the ability to play relatively normally. Teenagers who volunteer with these children eventually disappear (especially once they've fulfilled their "chessed hours" requirements). So, you saw a brief moment of happiness for a family whose life is probably very difficult.

Lion of Zion said...

"One of the saddest things I heard over Yom Tov: shvartzes have no relationship to HaShem. This from a little kid."

why does this surprise you?

nice to read about dancing with that kid

שבוע טוב

The Babysitter said...

that really does sound great that the children danced around him and helped him enjoy the dancing. I myself am not on the level yet, and it troubles me that I can't bring myself to go near a special person.

that's good that no one fought over the different versions being sung.

Unfortunately, many kids say such things. They have little racist chants. They don't understand the concept that there can be somebody who is not Jewish and yet good. Kids are always making fun of their bus drivers, and I think of it that they are just immature and it's part of their boyish nature, that hopefully they will grow out of it. But there are some kids who are trained well at home on the proper way to act, and they will realize that there is something wrong with the song, and they won't sing along and they will make a face at the others singing it.

That's great your children were well behaved, most children are good at other people's homes, or when they have company at their own home. They know to behave, unless they become very comfortable with the other people and they might try to "show off" and then get in trouble.