Today on Tablet, parenting columnst Marjorie Ingall writes about smartphone etiquette in a time when abuse of technology (i.e. sexting during seder) is as ubiquitous as the iPhone itself. Ignall covers the various ways adults can show their kids that there is a time for smart phones, and it usually isn’t during shul or at the dinner table:
Not only are you smartphoning in shul—I see you because I have eyes in the back of my head (behind the horns)—you are also talking to your neighbor. I hear you. When JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen suggested that we “make some noise” during services, this is not what he meant. How is God supposed to hear my prayers over all your yammering? My personal peeve among peeves is adults chatting during children’s services. Now, I understand a few whispers now and then. Our people are talkers. We are not Episcopalians. But even so, jabbering with your friends conveys, again, that your individual needs (or desires) are more important than the collective needs of the congregation, and sends a very specific message to your kids: “I am bringing you to a place I do not myself respect. Synagogue is medicine, and this theological erythromycin is for you, not me.” Here’s a thought about how to pass the time in synagogue: Pray. Encourage your kid to participate if the rabbi or cantor asks questions of the group. (And don’t just give the kid the answer. What is wrong with you?) In a lot of synagogues, the gabbaim and community leaders will not silence the annoying parents, because they are chickens, and just as Woody Allen needed the eggs, they need the dues. Police your own farshtunkiner self.