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Buddy, Can You Keep It Down?

Is there a nice way to tell strangers to be quiet?

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Visitor Comments: 25

(21) Gary Katz, May 25, 2013 8:54 PM

A little humor?

I was at a music performance and 2 women behind me wouldn't stop talking, despite my giving them "the look" several times. At the end of intermission, I told them, "Now that you've had the whole intermission to tell each other everything you needed to say, we can all just enjoy the second half of the performance, right?" I threw in a half smile, for good measure. I them heard one of the women telling her friend, "I was hardly talking!" But they did keep it down the remainder of the show.

(20) Anonymous, February 3, 2013 11:54 PM

Challenge of Communication

In pursuit of our peace, we perhaps can do more than we ever thought we could. However when it comes to cell phones, the challenge is always there. Cell phones are practical when we need them for urgent matters, but on the other side of the coin, they are becoming the coldest way of communication for most, including the texting system while ignoring others, and talking loud disturbing the peace. We sit at a restaurant, and have to listen to somenone's phone conversation at the next table. We wait at the airport to board our plane, and cannot have a peaceful moment because someone sitting next to us, is loudly talking and disturbing us. We go shopping to a supermarket or Department store, and someone is loudly detailing on the phone every item they see around them. I think it is rude and unconsidered to do that in an oblivious way, and very disrespectful. The listener, Jewish or not, should have the right to ask a loud and disturbing individual, to please keep it low. However, there is also danger in doing that, as one never knows how the culprit will interpret the request, and if that person is a violent person, it may very well missinterpret the request, and the situation may turn ugly. Also, other elements may play a role as well, such as race and skin color, depending of who is being loud and who is making the request for someone to lower his/her voice, which may be used against the person complaining. I simply think that in all fairness, cell phones should not be allowed inside of the airport except for emergency. Rabbi Salomon, thank you for another interesting topic.

(19) Eric Brand, January 22, 2013 7:45 PM

It's impolite (and unJewish) NOT to say something!

As usual, a good video from Rabbi Salomon. In answer to your question, should a person (in particular, an identifable Jew) say something to someone who's disturbing the peace (in particular, yakking on a cell phone), it's admirable that you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and that you're concerned about making a chillul HaShem (desecration of God's name). But that assumes that passivity in general and acceptance of bad behavior in particular is appropriate in all instances. In fact, bringing someone's bad behavior -- and its effects on others -- to their attention is a mitzvah among Jews, and certainly acceptable in wider society. Of course, it has to be done correctly, with respect and only in the person's (and innocent bystanders') interests. Taking a stand for what's right, stopping people from doing the wrong thing, protecting the innocent -- aren't these Jewish values? I've occasionally gotten applause from the group of strangers around me when I've suggested that a noisy cell phone user might lower the volume or even choose another time for his converation. People want to say something, but are timid. Perhaps we've gotten to the place where we've confused timidity with politeness. Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." A little grandiose for cell phone abuse, but you get the idea.

(18) Anonymous, January 20, 2013 10:01 PM

Can you keep it down solution

The loud talkers are probably suffering from hearing loss. I suggest that you carry a business card for a good audiologist with the following question prionted on the blank side: Do you know how loud you are? The worst that could happen is that the loudie will throw away the card. The best that could happen is that the loudie could get treated (business for the audiologist) and always remember 'that Jewish guy who helped me save my hearing' with gratitude and other loudies will also get clued in based on that loudie's testimonial. The people immediately standing around you will be grateful and probably think "I wish I'd thought of that' and maybe even ask about what you are doing and could they also have a card. If it is presented with respect and compassion, how could you go wrong?

(17) Anonymous, January 17, 2013 12:59 PM

How to shoosh fellow congregants-- respectfully

Was hoping to learn some hints re: how to respectfully ask my fellow women shul congregants to be quiet-especially since many of those who are talking during davening & Torah leyning are senior citizens-decades older than I Any suggestions?????

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