Rabbi, do you know why I don't go to synagogue? I used to go, but I started to notice that in my synagogue, the rich people get more noticed and average people like me are overlooked. So I stopped going. If you need to be wealthy to be respected, I want no part of it. Am I right or wrong?
You are the third person this week to explain to me why they don't go to synagogue. This happens to me all the time. At almost every function I attend, a wedding, kid's birthday party or communal gathering, someone comes up to me and says, "Rabbi, do you know why I don't go to synagogue...."
I have never asked anyone why they don't go to synagogue. I don't even know these people. And yet they feel the need to share with me their particular Jewish gripe, either about the unfriendly rabbi or the arrogant cantor, the grandfather who forced them to pray or the G‑d who didn't answer their prayers.
It's funny, I don't feel the need to justify to my dentist why I never go to him, or the local gym why they never see me. And yet when people see a rabbi they are overcome with an urge to explain their absence from synagogue.
Mind you, the people who do attend synagogue don't seem to have a good reason why they come. Even someone who has not been to synagogue in years can rock up to a service, and without any justification for their sudden appearance, they walk in, take a prayer book and sit down as if they always belonged there.
Because they do belong there.A Jew needs no reason to be in synagogue. There is no explanation necessary. Most of the time, they themselves don't know why they started coming to synagogue. And so they offer no rationalization. You only need a reason not to go to synagogue. But to go, no reason is required. I am here because I am Jewish, and going to synagogue is Jewish.
This is why I love hearing those alibis people present for not being in synagogue. A Jew needs a reason not to connect to Judaism. Some may have pretty good reasons, like yours. But they are reasons nonetheless. A Jew needs no reason to connect to Judaism. It is who we are.
If you don't like your synagogue, find another one. Until you do, all the justifications in the world won't change the fact that you're a Jew, and a Jew wants to be Jewish.
uch i LOVE it!!