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Correcting With Kindness In Shul

"What is hateful to you, do not do to others…" R' Hillel

When correcting others, one must be careful not to embarrass them in public.  No one here wants to embarrass or hurt another on purpose, but sometimes we do so inadvertently.  Here are some tips on how to correct with kindness.

  • If noise is the problem and an individual does not get the message simply by waiting, it would be better to take the individual out of the sanctuary to speak to them rather than announcing the issue to the whole congregation.   If one must make a general announcement, it should be simple directions, and not contain any words of rebuke.
  • Begin the correction with something positive:  "We are so glad you are here, you add so much to our shul."
  • State the problem in a kind way:  "Probably you didn't realize that your voice/your baby's voice carried to the rest of the shul and makes it hard for people to concentrate.  I am sure if you realized that, you would have gone to the kiddish room to speak/ gone out to calm your baby and then returned."
  • End on a positive note, with a kind voice, and a smile when appropriate.  "Thank you so much for your understanding.  We really are glad to have you here and we hope you will come to our shul often."

Remember that people of all ages can be embarrassed and hurt.  We would not like to be embarrassed or hurt, so we should strive to be kind in our rebuke.

— Alyza Shapiro

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