The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
My last two columns dealt with the biblical injunction that we “watch over our souls.” Hashem has commanded us to do what we can to keep ourselves healthy and alive. We are not to focus solely on ourselves but also to keep an eye on our families, friends and neighbors – especially those who are alone, infirm, elderly, and limited in their ability to efficiently take care of themselves. This is especially so for babies and children.
I recently was at a busy airport and saw aheimishe family making their way to the check- in counter. There were several children in tow and lots of luggage. People were staring at them and, as I got closer, I realized why. A boy of about 20 months was jumping and skipping around – but was not getting too far. Attached to his wrist was a long leash, the other end of which was attached to his mother’s wrist. Because the leash was stretchable, he was able to prance and run around but could not get away. Some people walked past the parents with disapproving frowns distorting their faces, for the very idea of “chaining a child” was an affront to them. But I thought to myself, kol hakavod.
It is easy for a parent to get distracted while navigating through a busy international airport, with its seemingly endless waiting, the long walk to the gate, and digging up passports and other documents. In a blink a toddler can walk away unnoticed. By having their child on a leash, these parents were “watching over the soul” of their little one.
I think that using some kind of restraint when very young children are in a crowded public place like a mall or playground (where they can easily get separated from their parent/babysitter/bubbe) is the “glatt” thing to do. This is especially so when the teenager or adult has several children under his/her care.
I strongly feel that older children, who are allowed to walk alone, be given “kid-friendly” cell phones, whereby they can receive or call certain programmed numbers if they need help. Better they should have the ability to call home than ask a stranger, even a heimishe-looking one, for help. Tragically, “frum” garb does not always translate into a safe adult.
Despite high gas prices, people need to get into their cars and go wherever they need to go. In this regard, here are some suggestions on keeping children safe. First, before you back out of your driveway, look around to see if there are children playing on the sidewalk or riding bikes. Notify the kids or adults (who are hopefully outside watching them) that you will be backing up, and that they should stay put until you are on the road.
Nowadays trucks and vans are equipped with a warning siren when going in reverse, but unfortunately this is not so with cars. I would like to see all vehicles equipped with one; but until then, be your own warning device. Glance around and make sure it is safe to back out.
If your car was parked outside overnight (or for a few hours in a public parking lot) I suggest you do a walk-around, and glance in the front and back seats before getting in. As improbable as it likely is, a stranger with sinister motives could be hiding inside – especially if yours is a bigger car or van.
And when arriving at your destination also glance in the front and back seats, to make sure you haven’t left something important behind, like your cell phone or pocketbook – or a sleeping infant. It is no laughing matter. Harried, distracted and exhausted parents have tragically left infants in cars where extreme heat or cold resulted in horrific heartache and loss.
I have made a habit when on the subway or bus to look behind at my seat after I have gotten up to get off. On many an occasion, I saw that I had left behind a bag with food, new clothing, an umbrella, or even my pocketbook. It only takes a second to look, and that quick glance has saved me from much aggravation.
With the summer heat upon us, it is crucial to keep young children hydrated. If you come in from an outing and you’re thirsty, no doubt your baby is also thirsty. Crying that you might attribute to tiredness or crankiness can be a desperate plea for something to drink. Young but verbal children engrossed in play may not come in and ask for a drink – but go out and offer them one anyway. They may be dehydrated but too busy playing to notice how hot they are. Make sure all bedrooms, at the very least, have a fan. Young children feel the heat like everyone else.
Always “test-drive” fans and other electrical appliances like lamps that are new, or haven’t been used in a long time. Leave them on during the day for several hours in a room where you can notice if they throw out electrical sparks or are malfunctioning. Always check the wire for any signs of wear and tear. And make sure you have working smoke detectors on all levels of the house, as well as a well-rehearsed escape plan in case of an emergency.
Teach older children to always close the safety gates so that babies cannot crawl onto steps or go into rooms that are not childproof. It goes without saying that there should always be a pair of responsible, adult eyes on babies and young children – especially when they are outdoors. Don’t assume that being with other, slightly older children will ensure their safety. The blind can’t lead the blind – and children can’t watch over children.
While these recommendations do not take much effort or expense, they can save a family much anguish. Hashem wants us to take the initial, necessary precautions to keep our families and ourselves safe. He will do the rest.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters
She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.
Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.
“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]
To what extent is your child displaying defiance?
This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.
Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.
“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.
Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.
The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.
Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”
The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.
Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.
Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.
I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.
It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.
Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/watch-over-the-souls-of-your-children/2008/07/09/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: