As we prepare for coming together again this Friday, I want to name an area of discomfort that some folks have brought up—and one that, in the budding of our community, is really important to address. It revolves around these questions: How can we have silence? Are my children welcome? How can I bring myself fully to community when my needs bump up against those of others?
I feel those all within me. Connecting silently to the Divine with a kid screaming in the room is above my level of spiritual mastery! And I’m also committed to creating a space where everyone who wants to be with us feels welcome and accepted, which includes children and their parents.
To this end, we have been experimenting with different ways of coexisting. The kids' kiddush/family dinner before services two weeks ago was a big step forward, as was moving the play area around the corner from the prayer space. We will continue to experiment and are open to feedback from all perspectives.
So I’ll say explicitly—and repeat at all our gatherings—that the sound of children is most welcome in the mix of our davenning. And, I will also ask parents to move noisy kids around the corner at times of meditation during the service.
This might be uncomfortable for just about everyone at one time or another. Productive discomfort in the service of community building is OK in my book, so long as it leads to growth. Please be in touch about this!