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Shul Conduct Review Panel

By ReligionFebruary, 2011December 12th, 20233 min read

A bizarre new sign went up in Yeshivah Shul this week

The letter welcomes families to participate in the shul’s programs and services, and introduces a new children’s program. It then warns quite ominously: “Unfortunately, some children continue to remain unsupervised on Yeshivah grounds on Shabbos … we remind parents that their child must either be attending a program or under your supervision … The behaviour of some children .. is sakonas nefoshos … Reports from staff and video footage will be reviewed after Shabbos … parents whose children are observed to be unsupervised … and engaging in unsafe behaviours will be requested not to bring their children …”

This is quite astounding. It looks like that Government stimulus money that has been used to build new fences, and install a remote-controlled boom gate complete with bollocks, has also gone to put in a sophisticated surveillance system to help stamp out “unsafe behaviours”.

Quite aside from the fact that this directive aims to stamp out kids playing (unsupervised) in any of the many playgrounds and play spaces around the Yeshivah campus, the fact that “video footage will be reviewed after Shabbos” is quite intriguing.

This is surely inspired by the AFL Match Review Panel, an important part of the AFL Tribunal, which reviews video footage after each weekend, looking for infringements. It’s great to see how the Yeshivah has learnt from other disciplines in dealing with and preventing “unsafe behaviours”:

As in the AFL, Yeshivah will introduce a points system: 100 points means you are suspended from attening shul for one week, a 25% discount is given for an early plea of guilty. Charges can apply to both parents and children as appropriate. For example:

  • Leaving a child unsupervised: 30 points
  • If under the age of 3: extra 20 points
  • Breaking into a classroom: 150 points
  • Making noise outside the boys’ minyan: 3000 points
  • Kicking a football: 10 points
  • Going up for a big mark: 30 points
  • Falling down and tearing your pants: 75 points

This is only the tip of the iceberg. As we know, cameras are also installed inside the main shul. We will soon see the introduction of the Shul Conduct Review Panel, which will view all footage every motzei Shabbos. They will consider whether a mispallel is to be charged with a reportable offence, taking into account three factors:

  • Conduct (whether the conduct was maizid, shoigeg or oines)
  • Impact (whether the impact was severe, high, medium or low)
  • Contact (whether the contact was high or to the groin or the body)

This gives rise to a whole host of other “unsafe behaviours”:

  • Basic talis flick: 20 points
  • Surcharge for high contact (e.g. eyes): 30 points
  • Surcharge for “off the play” (i.e. not while putting on the talis): 80 points
  • “Hip and shoulders” (excessive shokeling): 125 points
  • Surcharge for “off the play” (i.e. not during shmone esrei or walking past): 50 points
  • Surcharge if directed against the Rabbi, Gabbai, or Ba’al Koreh: 250 points
  • Tripping while someone are going up for an aliya: 150 points

There are rumours of the introduction of a “bringing the Shul into disrepute” offence, that carries a 500 point charge, but these have been dismissed, as many members and officers of the organization could find themlseves subjected to this charge.

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • michael lewis says:

    So if you get suspended, are you allowed to attend another shul during this period, or do you get a special exemption from all devening? Could lead to intentional infringements.

  • Anonymous says:

    To quote someone, 'I suppose sh1t happens!'

  • Geoff Bloch says:

    This is fantastic!! I must confess to having had a good belly laugh reading your article, but on reflection, what a marvellous initiative it is!! I intend raising it at the Mizrachi Executive next week and see if we have the funds to install the surveillance system too and follow the Yeshiva Centre's wonderful example.

  • Anonymous says:

    different anon

    you forgot about the fines…
    imagine this as a new income stream for yeshiva!

  • admin says:

    @Michael – you get relegated to the seconds, i.e. Mizrachi 😉

    @Shyrla – that was an intentional typo

  • Anonymous says:

    Bollards, dear, not 'bollocks', although the difference may be moot in this case.

  • the scribe says:

    Hey maybe they can use those cameras to refer difficult umpiring decisions for the kids playing cricket between mincha and maariv. (Of course they will have to wait until after shabbos for the decision of the 3rd umpire…)

  • I am banned from Galus Australis so this is the only place I could find to answer you. You wrote that Adass Kashrus and Kosher Australia sat down and worked out their issues regarding Nutri Grain. I do not believe that is what happened at all. Where did you get this from? Don't state things unless you know them to be fact.

  • Ilana says:

    Well my son has already been banned from two shules and I believe it relates more to his tan than to anything else.
    The latest shule I attended for two sessions and he and another boy of 6 were being stirred up by an older boy who is a sweet kid but has some cognitive disability so even though he is fourteen he is childlike and stirs the two younger boys up into quite boisterous behaviour. I have no problem seeing that my son behaves and supervising as boys will be boys.
    What I did resent and found very unfair was the rabbi's position that it was all my son's fault and that 'your son' is the problem and of course no other child was at fault. Actually my son can behave beautifully when he is not stirred up by older kids. He sat through out the reading of both megillas. He is a seven and a half year old boy. I am a very fair person and do supervise my child and expect good behaviour from him.
    Yeshiva students who were older them him, taught him to use language that is not common venacular in my house. They think because he has a tan he needs to speak like some drek hip hop artist with fried brains from too many drugs. Language and manners are not genetic, they are learnt and little kids copy bigger kids. Needless to say I will never enter that shule again. As Groucho Marx once said who needs to go somewhere were they deny you entry. It is their loss. I will be really glad when our regular shule finds another place and we can go back to normal shabbes nights and mornings with well structured kids' programs.
    Kids do need to be supervised and taught how to behave appropriately in a place of prayer, but how are they going to learn if they are not there and taught how?

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