Is there a problem with using a non-Jewish babysitter? My friends seem to think my husband & I are horrible people because we do, but it’s really necessary. The alternative of sending him to a playgroup is too expensive, and ends too early. Is there a problem with using a non-Jew to watch my children? Name Redacted - Cedarhurst
Is there a problem? Well that depends on what you want your child exposed to. When my wife and I had our first child, we agreed to only have Jewish babysitters watch our children. Although we were lucky enough to have many awesome experiences, there were some pretty scary ones as well. B”H we caught them on our nanny cam and resolved the matters quickly.
Crazy experiences can happen with anyone, Jewish or not, and that’s why parents need to be extremely vigilant. Nonetheless, I feel that a Jewish babysitter is a far better option. At a young age, a child is so impressionable. The way this person interacts, speaks, and even plays with your children, can have long-lasting effects.
Let’s face it, raising children isn’t cheap. Actually, it’s quite expensive. In a few weeks, I’m going to share a very interesting question about children and costs. Suffice it to say, you need to separate expenses into at least two main categories - necessities and luxuries. I’m not going to go into detail, but having a Jewish babysitter seems to me to be a necessity.
I don’t believe your friends think you’re horrible people because of your decision, rather, they disagree with you. There have been many stories circulating about babysitters feeding kids non-kosher food, letting them watch inappropriate material, and more. Leaving your child with a non-Jewish babysitter should not be your first option.
If it’s any consolation, I know many people that have had non-Jewish babysitters and their children have turned out wonderfully. Additionally, I do understand that there are times or situations where one doesn’t have a choice but to use a non- Jewish babysitter. I’m just not a gambling man.
The below suggestions are not only for non-Jewish babysitters, but for Jewish as well. Anytime anyone is near your children, including a housekeeper, contractor, plumber, gardener and so on, you must be vigilant.
4/28/2017 07:18:13 am
Fantastic Article! Just Wow! I have heard crazy stories as well.
4/28/2017 07:28:21 am
This is a crucial. One of the topics that people tend to avoid. Thanks for bringing it up.
4/28/2017 07:36:21 am
I once had my girl who isn't Jewish, give my kids non kosher food. She meant well, but I totally understand what you are saying. It's really scary.
4/28/2017 07:41:03 am
When we were kids, my neighbor used to have a non-Jewish woman take care of them. I will never forget that when their parents left the house, her boyfriend come over. It was awkward and disgusting, and when their parents finally found out they were furious of course. Leaving your children in the hands of someone who you don't know well Jewish or not is absolutely crazy. These are your children, why would you want to mess them over.
4/28/2017 08:00:02 am
Wow. Crazy story. If you have a Jewish babysitter, I guess you don't have to worry about that.
4/28/2017 07:57:49 am
Rabbi, you bring up a very important subject. Not only that, but your tips are very useful. Thank you.
4/28/2017 08:02:18 am
You hit the nail on the head. The same parents that spend $14,000 on tuition, have no problem leaving their precious children with strangers. What crazy story happened with your babysitter?
4/28/2017 08:07:43 am
There is another element to this topic, which is lack of Brachos. When a non Jewish lady takes your son out of the bathroom, does she make a Bracha with him? Does she help him kiss the mezuza? Before eating? These are the most important years, and you're throwing them away.
4/28/2017 08:20:27 am
I concur. This has to stop. We should build a wall. Well even pay for it. Seriously speaking, what would possess a Jewish family to allow a non Jew to raise their children? Absolutely Meshugeh.
4/28/2017 08:22:18 am
When we had our oldest, my husband told me he only wanted our children to be watched by frum babysitters. "You mean Jewish, right?" I asked. "No frum." I figured that he didn't know how impossible that would be. But. Hashem heard his request. My best friend happened to take a sabbatical that year, and agreed to watch my oldest child. When my next child was born my sister quit her job to watch her. When my next child was born, my mother in law quit her job to become a full time babysitter and by the time our youngest came into the family, my husband had changed professions and started working from home. If there is a will, there is a job to leave. Well, not for me, for my caretakers. That said. There are amazing not-yet-frum babysitters who will love your child and care for them as their own and some skeevy observant ones. It's not good to be paranoid, but it's good to be cautious. Great question. Great answer. Keep them coming.
4/28/2017 08:22:23 am
While it's great that you're all bashing people like me, I'm not hearing many alternatives. Have you ever tried finding a Jewish full time babysitter? Didn't think so. They don't exist. In order to pay tuition, we both have to work. The system is at fault, we have no choice!
4/28/2017 09:55:49 am
Stacy, I don't think anyone is bashing you. I know it seems like there are no alternatives, but that's because most people don't try looking for them. Many older Jewish women would love a job to watch children, and some girls in college at night might welcome the opportunity. If you did you due diligence, it's fine. Most of us are shocked that some people don't even try.
4/28/2017 08:25:01 am
I love the hints this week. Spot checking is great and so are nanny cams. Let the babysitter realize you care, and she won't play games. If you don't put in the effort, that's when the problems begin.
4/28/2017 09:11:49 am
I usually agree with you but cant disagree more with your opinion on jewish vs non-jewish babysitters. I have had both and my non-jewish babysitters have exemplified middos much better as well as playing with my children as opposed to babysitting with electronics. I dont believe this has anything to do with their religion, rather who they are as a person. When choosing a babysitter it is important to make sure they are honest, capable, responsible etc regardless of their religion. I think exposing my children to positive role models who also happen to be different races and religions is good for them in the long run as well. Many religious children act holier than thou to non-jews and this creates a chilul hashem. Im not advocating that parents specifically hire non-jewish babysitters, i just personally dont see any reason not to. Parents need to do whats best for their children and they should hire the best babysitter that meets their need, regardless of their religion.
4/28/2017 10:27:06 am
I completely hear you. However, the point of the article was, there is an inherent difference between being raised by a Jew or a non Jew. If you have the choice between an excellent non Jew or a irresponsible Jew, everyone would pick the non Jew. If you have the choice of both being excellent, going wit the Jew is the right choice.
4/28/2017 10:32:19 am
I agree. My Goyish girl knows more Halachos than most Jewish girls. I wouldn't trade her for any of them!
4/28/2017 10:41:15 am
I understand what you're saying Ilana. However, it's not about race. Children MUST treat the cleaning lady with respect all the time. This comes down to who is the one having a influence on your children. She can have wonderful Middos, but when push comes to shove, she is not a Jew. She won't make Brachos. She won't say Baruch Hashem. She won't tell over stories from Tanach. These young children are so impressionable. You might have a wonderful and trustworthy girl, but there is always that risk.
4/28/2017 10:43:13 am
Ilana - I don't want to be rude, but let me share with you a story. My grandfather and his family lived in Poland. They had the nicest non Jewish lady help out in the house. She was wonderful. When the Nazis YM came, she pointed out where they were hiding.
5/3/2017 07:46:37 pm
Agreed with all of the above, however I don't think this article was about how a child should be raised. I think we can all agree that a child should be raised by his Jewish parents. It seemed to be that this was a question of hiring a Jewish vs non-Jewish babysitter. I personally believe it's a parent's responsibility to parent, which includes brachos etc. (Many non-Jewish babysitters will remind children to say Brachos, kiss mezuzah etc because they respect their employer's religion)
4/24/2020 01:18:00 am
This example requires context. The alternative was death from Nazis. When brought with that choice, people act sometimes as a surprise to themselves. I think nannies aren’t going to be subject to extreme choice of death of oneself or another
4/28/2017 10:02:58 am
This article reminds me of a sad story. When I was 5 my babysitter who was Spanish brought me to her house as a treat. She fed me pork rinds and let me watch a cop show. My parents found out and were so angry...with me. I was five. Putting children into this situation is dangerous.
4/28/2017 10:34:24 am
I absolutely loved this article! So many great ideas and thoughts. The dressing appropriately is really important. It's really not good for their Neshamos! Thank you!
4/28/2017 10:45:51 am
A lot of the hints apply to both Jewish and non Jewish babysitters. I happen to love the Shabbos table concept. It's great Chinuch to have kids set the table. Great stuff.
4/28/2017 12:33:10 pm
I greatly enjoyed this article. There are many bubbies that would love the opportunity to work with your kids. Why not look around.
4/28/2017 12:50:22 pm
While agree in theory with this article, realistically it's almost impossible to find a viable alternative. Maybe you should give some better pointers for those that already have a non Jew. Is there something we can do to strengthen the kids Yiras Shomayim? Thanks!
4/28/2017 02:21:12 pm
Well written as usual! Although I hear both sides of the coin, I think it's important to check into everyone.
4/30/2017 12:44:18 am
I read and reread over Shabbos. I had printed it to discuss with my friends at the Shabbos table, and it was a mistake. Some people really get touchy when discussing this topic. I agree with your points, and really don't know why it's such a big deal.
4/30/2017 12:50:44 am
Over Shabbos, I decided to put your article to the test. I asked my 3 kids who all have had or currently have a girl named Maria watch them since my husband and I work. I said as a joke, does Mariah make Brachos with you? They all said she encourages them to. I asked if she ever gave them Traif food. Their response, only tic tacs because she thought they were all Kosher. My husband and I need to have a serious discussion. I will email you more details privately.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.