Dressing for shul

I try hard not to demand too much from the boys, especially in the summer where they are supposed to be able to chill out. However, yesterday, as they were getting ready to go to shul for maariv at the end of the fast, I insisted that my son change his shorts for long trousers. There was much eye rolling. Apparently “God doesn’t really care what you wear to shul so long as you show up”. Um. No. I believe it is inherently disrespectful to show up to a place of worship looking like you just stepped off a basketball court. The night before he had ridden his bike for an hour before maariv and I insisted he showered before going – I am apparently a very demanding mom. Seriously, to me, when you go to shul, you must show more respect than when you are just hanging out at home with your friends. It doesn’t make me a hypocrite – it’s not pretending that you are different, it’s just dressing appropriately for the occasion.

While there was eye rolling going on, his friend who was hanging out with him told him that he was going home to change before shul as his mother also doesn’t let him go to shul in shorts. Score one for the mommies.

Demanding? Or justified?

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  1. G6 says:

    Absolutely justified.
    It’s a pity that more parents don’t feel the need to instill these values in there children.
    Sadly, it snowballs and manifests itself in the overall decorum in shuls today in so many ways. :(

  2. batya from NJ says:

    I agree that shorts are not appropriate attire for shul & thankfully my son agrees with me!

  3. Hadass Eviatar says:

    Oh, I agree. Shul requires some respect, and that translates into clothing. Not just for kids – at our minyan, you don’t lead in shorts.

  4. Risa says:

    Even here in Israel, even when we lived on a moshav where people didn’t wear long pants to work, my husband and my sons always came home and changed into long pants to go daven. You have to have some respect for the shul.

  5. Mike S. says:

    Both. Who says being demanding isn’t justified?

  6. fairion says:

    You are completely justified. It is very much a matter of respect. It drives me crazy when people show up to shul looking like they just ran in from playing in the yard.

    We always dress for shul here and we even dress for Shabbat dinner when it is just the family at home.

  7. Annon says:

    I don’t mean to be offensive, but I cant help and wonder, If Mother has a facebook page called ORTHOFOX does that send the right message to a kid as to how they should dress in Shul? I really don’t want anyone to be offended. This just reminds me of the old story. Dont stop talking to your freind in Shul to tell your kid not to talk to his freind…..

  8. kisarita says:

    It depends on the frequency of shul. If you go three times a day than yes it’s way too demanding. If you go in the middle of the day to minha, in the middle of whatever other activity, or on your way somewhere yes, it’s too demanding.

    If it’s in the morning when you just wake up that’s a different story.

    but if its a questionof being stinky and sweaty, then well maybe he shouldn’t be going anywhere at all. (depending how old- little kids don’t smell much).

  9. Mel from Monsey says:

    We had a Rebbe who put it this way: “Would you go to visit the President of the US dressed like that?”

  10. fille says:

    I was in Israel in a modern-orthodox Kibbutz, and I like the informal way people dressed in Schul.

    It gave me the feeling that Schul is part of their REAL life.

    I think it is mainly a question of costum in the Schul you go to.

    I’d rather choose one with less formal dress codes.

  11. Shira says:

    On a regular weekday, I think it’s fine to go to shul in shorts or informal dress.
    On Shabbat or holidays- well, it drives me nuts here in Israel to see so many women show up in tight jeans and kids in sweatpants. Granted, these usually are not religious people (there for the holidays or for a bar mitzvah)…..but I still think it’s pretty basic to don a skirt and dress pants.

  12. saramaimon says:

    The best way to determine whether some practice is too demanding or not, is to try it on yourself for size.

    So figure out some parallel test for yourself and see.

  13. Here in Shiloh different dress codes, less formal, especially for the young and young at heart.

  14. Prof K says:

    Agree with Mel. This isn’t strictly about going to shul–this is about standing before the King of kings. There are some times and some places that require different dress and demeanor than other times and places. Shul is one of those places that requires somethinig other than shorts.

  15. Offwinger says:

    Just wanted to add:

    If you live anywhere that is brutally hot, then you’re being way too demanding.

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