A friend and former freelance client of mine, Vivian Resofsky, writes about keeping children safe from predators. One of her key suggestions is to watch children in synagogue (she and I are both Jewish) and not to assume “they’re just kids running around” and therefore safe.
The truth is that kids are vulnerable not only to adult predators, but also to one another — the younger to the older, the female to the male.
I am not very good at prayer, never was. No matter how hard I try I come up deficient. So I was sitting in synagogue last week, being deficient at prayer yet again, when I thought to myself, you’re better off out there, making sure the kids are safe.
Indeed, on my way in I saw two little kids, a brother and sister, playing alone in the playroom. There should be an adult monitor present at all times.
Not just in the playroom, either. They need one in the front area, where kids run around, and downstairs, where the food is being readied for the kiddush and there is a lot of space to play but also a lot of areas to hide.
I’m skipping parts of the story but at some point I went downstairs and saw a little girl sitting on one of the couches, her head bent forward. She was swinging her legs back and forth. They don’t yet touch the floor.
In the other room, there were kids running around.
“Do you want me to take you inside to play with the other kids?” I asked her. I thought maybe the other kids were ignoring her because she goes to a different school.
“That boy hit me,” she replied. “He spilled my water cup all over my skirt.”
It wasn’t clear who had hit her. Looking over my right shoulder, I could see the kids in the other room running around, being rough. “Come with me. Do you want water?”
I looked at her skirt. It had water stains on jt, just like someone had pushed her, just like she said. I felt bad for her.
A mask hung over her ears and dangled under her chin.
Oh, how I hate those masks.
She walked toward the water pitcher with me but stopped partway. “I don’t want water,” she said.
Together we continued walking to where the other kids were clustered.
Suddenly, one of them broke free. He stepped toward her rapidly.
Oh, so that’s the one who hit her, I thought.
I stuck out my hand. “No hit—“
Just then, the little girl stepped forward—fast. She had a balloon in her hand, which seemed to have materialized out of nowhere. With all her might, she stomped forward, lunging at the other child, and struck him with the balloon.
And with that, she turned, spun on her heels, and walked straight back and out of the room.
I know that justice is coming because God made the children pure, and even a tiny child has a sense of fairness and justice.
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.