I missed musaf. I missed minha and neilah as well. I did them but not with not with a minyan, which definitely took away from the experience. Where was I on the holiest day of the year? At the playground so my daughter could run around in order to make it possible for my wife to fast.
I have to report that unfortunately I was not in good company. The kids were playing but the parents were not attending to them. There were a few mothers watching their children, and a few nannies watching others. Ignoring the issue of having non-Jews raise our children, there was a much greater problem. The vast majority of the kids on the playground were running around completely unsupervised. They were jumping on each other and hopping the fence into a play area they weren’t allowed to enter. I even saw a few children clearly under the age of ten wandering the streets and riding their scooters without an adult in sight. If I was thinking straight at that time I hope I would have had the common sense to look for the parents, who were presumedly in shul or waiting out the fast at home.
Tefillah is important. The safety of our children is much more important. Lo alenu if one of our kids gets snatched up or hit by a car because the parents felt praying took precedence over their parental duties. Just think of the message being sent to the children: tefillah is more important than their safety.
If we really want the Torah transmitted to the next generation, we have to weed out the hassidut shtut from our midst. Tefillah is in no way trumps protecting our kids both from physical danger or spiritual. Ha osek b’mitzvah patur min ha mitzvah and there is no greater mitzvah than hinuch. I hope next year if I can’t arrange babysitting for my kids that I see more parents out there on the playground with me.