No Child Left Behind

Implications of the three year old left at the airport

Comments (20)

(20) Anonymous, February 14, 2013 9:13 PM


As a child I was abandoned by my father when my parent's divorced...I felt abandoned by my mother as well....she worked three jobs and often went out on weekends---us children were left on our own and as a result a predator came into my life and I paid the price in many ways throughout the rest of my life older and wiser...I have forgiven them but know the importance of placing children and family far above material, a social life and yes, even career...I think children are too precious to be placed on the back-burner while chasing too many worthless things...I don't think people can ever regret not working too much...but not spending quality, nurturing time with your children can be a painful regret...think about it

(19) Feigele, August 28, 2008 3:34 PM

Who's Abandoning Who?

We do leave our children at times. We are told that it is good for them to use their imagination to create their own activities. It doesn’t mean that we abandon them. Of course, unfortunately, lots of people do try to get rid of their children by escaping their responsibilities. It is true more and more today people are getting so busy trying to make a living and keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. But why do they also need more than one car per family, televisions in each rooms, cell phone per person, etc. etc. It is very difficult to have a just middle with teenagers. You are doomed if you are too much on top of them, and you are doomed if you don’t. All you can do is try your best and also get advices from different sources. Lots of problems are due to peer pressure, which makes it more difficult for people to be good parents. When my kids were young I could control everything, we had only one television in the whole house, I refused having more, or in their bedrooms, I wanted them all together in one room and close to me next to the kitchen while I was making dinner. Then came the computer age. That went in my oldest son’s bedroom and again they all stay together there and I would glance once in a while. Then came the teenager age! Hi! Gevalt! That meant independence for my daughter. She had friends over behind close door, or she went to their houses. I didn’t abandon her, she abandoned me! The boys no problems but they too needed their privacy. So I am the one who was abandoned here!

(18) Feigele, August 28, 2008 2:41 PM

3, 4, 5 or more!

Once more it shows how material possessions are so important in people’s life! what seemed at the time, 18 luggages were more important to get on the plane than their own progeny! What should come first? Not that I’m perfect, but I have 3 children and anywhere we went I had 3 hands in my 2 hands, I kept counting them, made sure they were of different sizes because I knew each one or they would hold on to what ever I was carrying, I never let go, I had anchored in my head that nothing else mattered even If I lost my purse or car or whatever. I suppose when people have children they should anchor that in their head too, especially if they have half a dozen. 3 for me was perfect but I could have had more and do the same thing, it’s all in your head how you perceive what having children is and where your duty toward them lies. These parents are not guilty in the sense that they didn’t planed it, they were negligent yes and brainless maybe. If you ask them what would they prefer, to have their kid on the plane or their 18 luggages, what do you think they would reply? … and they would be sincere too. They could not imagine doing what happen to them.

(17) George, August 23, 2008 11:47 AM

There Is Another Lesson In This Story

There is another lesson to be learned from this story... Society is WAY TOO BUSY! We are so busy we don't have time for anything including our kids. We have so many interruptions and so many things trying to grab our attention that we lose focus on the important things in life. We are always in a hurry, like these parents were, and then we leave our children behind in the process.

(16) Grace Fishenfeld, August 23, 2008 10:07 AM

Time value

Two hands, two children. That's how it worked for me. That how I felt about being responsible for the safety and nurturing of my family. I figured that out one day when I had to cross a busy street. Holding on to the two of them was enough for me. I lived in three rooms in Brooklyn upstairs from a Rabbi. That family was a beautiful model for anyone. I was advised by the Rebbitsen to have more children because she believed that economics was not important and that the future would take care of itself. Their two young adults who were being well educated in all ways were the only children who survived the Rebbitsen's pregnancies. Today, our two talented and bright children are happy, good and productive. If I had another lifetime, I think I would have had at least one more because the the Rabbi's wife was correct. The future did take care of financial needs. The parents who left their child behind at the airport were distracted by the excitment of the occasion. All of them together made the awful mistake. As you said,the outcome was OK. As for parents whose children sit watching TV for long stretches must see that the TV becomes the guide to life exposure. This is dangerous. Time for viewing should be limited and monitored. Our children are in our charge for a short time and much of what we impart remains in the back of their thoughts even when they leave home. Hopefully, we give our children the tools to meet tough situations that are bound to come up in life. Parental involvment does not end. When things go wrong, we can still be there to laugh and cry with them. For this we give thanks.

(15) Simcha, August 21, 2008 11:21 AM

"As The world turns"

Now the child, then the parent. And so we ask "where did we go wron" when children do not call or care for their elderly parents. A little too late to get the answer or change the course of life. Young people, learn don't just judge and correct your ways, while there is still time. Don't just think, DO

(14) Deborah, August 21, 2008 8:05 AM

Not the 1st time - hopefully the last...

About 10 years ago there were similar incidents in Israel, at least two of them were Haredi families left their toddler in a boiling hot car in the middle of the summer. The infant was found dead, both parents assuming that the other one had taken care of the child. There was a major upheaval in the medias at that time (and with due right.) At that time I was not observant - today I am Haredi. But my opinion in unchanged: These parents are unfit.

(13) LSAOYKOLLU, August 20, 2008 10:11 PM

I think everyone just about missed the point.

Rabbi S. was talking in general leaving our kids behind in a emotional way. Not in the physical. I agree 100% with Yoseph... I was left in the car overnight when i was about that age, and I remember every detail... and I dont feel like it did any emotional damage. Far worse, is the uncaringness. Emotional & Spiritual Neglect.

(12) Shira Twersky-Cassel, August 20, 2008 3:10 AM

We must school parents and children to prevent neglect caused by ignorance

For myself, a grandmother involved in the raising of my grandchildren,there is no excuse for such a thing. What behavioral fault causes this? I believe it is a basic lack of safety education. The instincts of safety have not been ingrained in the Israeli psyche. Such ignorance is also manifest when parents leave children unattended in cars or in carriages outside shops. Distracted by pressure, people put secondary considerations -errands, shopping, or getting on a plane - before the life and death consideration of 100% surveillance of the human being in their care. In a related issue which always maddens me, I see mothers pushing baby carraiges into the road ahead of themselves. !!!! A national program must be established which instructs parents AND children on basic first aid education at home and in the street, which covers all the elementary safety measures needed to watch over the ones we love in this world filled with pitfalls. From dangerous costumes on Purim to electric plugs, suspicious objects, nylon bags and so on. And naturally the subjects I have mentioned above. The occasional talk on the radio or TV does not fulfill this need. Is someone prepared to stand up to this challange and not just express the occasional indignant shock? The Israeli attitude of "It will be OK" may be Hassidic in spirit but that is integral to the mitzvah of safeguarding ourselves and our loved ones.

(11) Anonymous, August 20, 2008 2:30 AM

NO Child left behind

You said that the parents were responsible, why not saying at the same time how a kid aged 3 years can sew his parents for negligence... Take Care.

(10) Anonymous, August 19, 2008 2:08 PM


I am horrified that parents can get on a plane no matter how many kids they have and leave behind a little 3 year old. It is absolutely despicable.

(9) ruth housman, August 19, 2008 1:52 PM


There are certainly different kinds of abandonment. The deepest is neglect. This is the first I have heard of the child left behind at the airport and I gather this, being a bigger than perhaps usual family, made people question the wisdom of having many children. An orthodox Jew would not pose this question as it's about being fruitful and multiplying. I have observed that often in such even larger families the older children often assume the task of shepherding the younger ones and are often parentified in this way. This is both good and bad. There are so many issues around big families and one is the world itself. How many children is conscionable in a world in which population is exploding and certainly there are parts of the world that simply cannot feed all the children. Does anyone individually have an ethical morality that encompasses this issue? Should we? About abandonment. I think we're all guilty of forgetting in the heat of the moment and this should not have happened. Certainly someone should have seen a child was left behind and everyone does "count" in a loving family in every possible way. So it happened and I think no one can really judge the panic and level of guilt felt by these parents. I do not know them. We all fall down. If, in other ways, this is a caring, close-knit family, then we have to forgive and thank G_d the child is fine and was unharmed. The psychological damage, a certain sensitivity to abandonment and those questions may remain. If these are loving people, they will ask forgiveness in their prayers and be so thankful! Sometimes it's imminent loss that draws us very close to what's most important. That draws that line. There is a very difficult relationship between abandonment and the other sense of the word, namely abandon, meaning to exercise freedom, to race, to play in a joyous manner, to "be" and "do" what the spirit calls. We all need to dance away from parental eyes sometimes, to live it with abandon. Life has this delicate balance built in and it is sensitivity that creates the best possible answer to this dynamism. Certainly it's always something to think about, and even, as we age, and our children get older and move towards independence and beyond.

(8) Anonymous, August 19, 2008 12:14 PM

Negligence vs. Distraction

I used to be one of those parents that would sit in judgement of the parent who forgot their child in the car until it happened to me. One little change of routine (husband used to take the kid and today you took your child) and it becomes so easy to be distracted and simply forget so now I've become like a bus driver and obsessively check the car seat even when I know my child is not with me. That alone makes me afraid to judge the parents who left their child behind since I don't want G-d to show me how easily it could happen to me. However, I must say that when I am in a store or any public place I always am aware of exactly where my children are and always have been that way unlike many parents who turn their backs on their kids all the time. Just last week I nearly ran over a kid who darted out in front of my car with his bike while his mother was nowhere to be found and he could not have been a day over four years old. I simply beeped my horn loudly so his mother should come but then I left because here in Monsey this is such common behavior that when I complain to parents they argue back with me and act like I'm the disturbed one. As far as media in the home goes I called to cancel my cable t.v. and then called back to cancel the order again and again until Yom Kippur came along and I finally did it! That was four years ago and so I'm raising a bunch of naive children who don't have a clue about Britney Spears, Hannah Montana, etc. and it feels great!

(7) Yoseph, August 19, 2008 10:17 AM

Aren't they really a close family?

I don't understand why the media should consider them irresponsible and negligent. My reading between the lines tells me that the complete family took the trip together. All that luggage means that enough was taken for everyone's needs. The family noted the missing child shortly after takeoff, not after the landing. Presumably, they looked around shortly after takeoff when the passengers were allowed to rise from their seats. Seven members of a group are not normally seated together. Most likely, for whatever the reason was, and there are many possibilities, e.g. a misunderstaning that the other parent or older sibling was watching that child, or all thought that the child had run ahead and was already seated arbitrarily into one of the family's seats, etc. (None of these situations could ever happen to anyone else's family, right?) I, personally, was impressed that a family of seven traveled together. If anyone is to blame, how about those in the terminal who had noticed a young child, probably looking lost, without doing anything about it? Then again, why do we feel that it is our responsibility to blame someone when we weren't even there? Caring for our family is absolutely important. But let's not use this event as an example of irresponsibility.

(6) Yisroel Pollack, August 19, 2008 8:18 AM

The Tail Wagging the Head

We leave our children behind when we leave ourselves behind. If we're careless and complacent about our own spiritual well-being, we abandon our children to our own whimsical ways. We need to better ourselves for the sake of the young, for the sake of our children.

(5) sho770, August 19, 2008 7:30 AM

really something to think about

i didn´t know about the little girl, since I don´t have tv and rarely watch or read the news on my computer, ecause of lack of time, though I try to stay updated. The flight staff should certanly have wondered out loud when seeing one ticket "too much", and that would havebeen it. I´sure the parents realised once on the plane, a little too late, but enough o worry for hours. Kids do run away easily, distracted by the smallest things. This is a lesson for life, for er and her parents. About tv, wedid have one at home, though a black and white one till I was 15 and with only two channels. We could watch the smurfs (a belgian tradition - little blue dwarf comic stories), and later on, when older, the news - but only to be interrogated to make sure we really listened and didn´t stay just to go later to sleep (which was our first aim, hum). When we got a new tv with more channels (and colors) our parents carefully selected informative programs (national geographic reports, historical or political programs, sunday torah classes...) and well, sometimes comic stuff. But it stayed off most of the time. We played outside, did some bicycle, read books (a lot), made our homework, visited friends, sometimes played family games such as chess or monopoly. And then we had to help around a little bit. TV was a little extra, not a necessity. We had no time to be bored.

(4) lisa, August 18, 2008 5:42 AM

Rabbi are so right

Great topic for a R"H drasha!!!! You have all the questions..but we need some answers!!! I am so guilty of letting my kids watch TV or play the computer!!!! I do not mind this activity for an hour or so...but it goes on endlessly!!!! I have relatives with no TV or computer & I must say these kids are so creative and rarely say "I'm bored!" When I was younger we didn't have TV 24/ was a half hour of Batman & then back to riding our bikes or playing Barbie or GI Joe. So when it's too cold to play outside, how can I keep my kids happy...without TV? That is the bonous of sleep-away..NO TV!!!!!! Yes, we all need to focus more on our kids.....thank G-d for Shabbat many ways, but especially the time to really focus into our kids!!! Its true ...more than us keeping Shabbat, Shabbat has kept us!!!! Thank you Rabbi for alawys bringing up current, relevant topics that should resonate within us.

(3) suzy, August 17, 2008 3:08 PM


so true, many people are so busy because of work and other stuff. But we should always make time be with our kids. This is the only chance we have. - plus, know when to give space. great message

(2) Anonymous, August 17, 2008 12:51 PM

It gets worse....................

I've read in the news that a young mother tried to strangle her infant to death on 5 seperate occasions. I just feel certain people are not fit to be parents and shouldn't be allowed to breed. Sadly to say in most cases, people treat their posessions and pets with better TLC than they do with their own children. It makes my blood boil to read about such stories. How one leaves a small child behind alone at an airport is beyond my wildest comprehension.

(1) SusanE, August 17, 2008 12:47 PM

3 Year Old Will Have a Lifelong Tale to Tell

My in-laws left one of their two boys at a restaurant and drove off without him while they were on a family outing. It has become a standard funny story in the family for the past 40 years. No catastrophe happened and it had a good outcome. But for the other question you are asking Rabbi, I know some couples that one child was too many. My great Aunt raised 10 on her own after her husband died young. And she did it perfectly, and had 10 grown sucessful loving kids. Who's to say how much we should overlook and how much to oversee? I don't know. I see neglect nearly everyday and that is a huge problem. Kids are given fast food slop to eat because Mom can't bother to cook. They aren't bathed and groomed daily. They are allowed to be places alone where there should be an adult overseeing. At playgrounds in the evenings, and watching the Television and computer in the home. And I see children who are even worse off than these. They are the children of indifference. It's like they don't exist. That they have no value so they are disregarded and ignored. Selfish selfish parent or parents give them any distraction or past-time, just to avoid taking responsibility for raising them. Doesn't seem to matter how many are in a family, I think it happens in all sized families.


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