A member of Mill Hill shul has sympathised with those tackling disruptive children in shul, recalling how she was knocked and hurt by a “rampaging horde” while climbing the stairs earlier this month.
It follows last week’s reports of a clash between Alex Pomerance, the chairman of Radlett United, and outraged parents of children accused of disruptive behaviour, after he was seen to criticise four girls for causing £850 worth of damage to the shul toilets.
Ruth Jacobson of Mill Hill said: “I was climbing the stairs to the Ladies’ Gallery when a horde of young boys came belting down. One collided with me, hitting me in the thigh and throwing me aside. Someone yelled back: ‘Are you OK?’ But they didn’t stop to find out, they just carried on their rampage.”
She added: “Nothing was broken but it hurt for several days. I reported it to the shul board, suggesting that parents supervise the behaviour of their children, but judging by the vociferous response to Mr Pomerance’s complaints, that is not an option. How dare he suggest that their innocent darlings behave so outrageously!”
Jacobson backed Pomerance on his stance, saying that “while not all youngsters are noisy hooligans, a number are, and should be reprimanded accordingly,” adding that more work needs doing to “combat boredom and disinterest in youth services”.
She added: “Shuls should be centres of prayer and reflection, as well as social gathering, but not if the latter function involves rowdiness, and knocking over ladies of a certain age. Anti-social behaviour must be given zero-tolerance, and shul members must be empowered to protest against it, and any rudeness or righteous indignation they may encounter in doing so.”
Mill Hill synagogue chair Lucy Jackson told Jewish News: “We are very fortunate to have a large number of children who regularly attend our shul. Generally speaking they are well behaved and we organise programmes and events to keep them engaged during the time they spend with us. However, kids will be kids and we cannot control their actions at all times. We regret the incident that caused Mrs Jacobson’s injury and we will be writing to her to ensure she is ok.”