Sunday, May 4, 2014

In Shul

My semimonthly appearance at services for shabbos morning took place yesterday, at least semi-monthly at my shul but I rarely attend any other shul as a supplement.  I used to go more, like most Saturday mornings if I was not on medical call or a platelet donor, tracing back many years.  I would either sleep in periodically and a few years ago set one weekend day aside for a day trip, so the lack of attendance probably accumulated gradually more than abruptly.  It is probably for cause, though teasing out the cause seems less than straightforward.  The people who attend are basically decent folk, dedicated to carrying on the proceedings as best they can.  There has been some attrition of talent without replacement, and I miss it.  But fundamentally a service is a service with a beginning a middle and a conclusion followed by a kiddush.  The Rabbi's mind does not really engage my mind and I still abhor those Aliyah Sound Bites that disrupt the natural cadence of Torah but that's not really a reason for boycott.  And I do not really see myself as boycotting, just preferring to be someplace else those mornings I am not there.

My respect for the capabilities of the synagogue leadership has greatly faltered of late so perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for my principle AKSE activity classifies as a negative transference reaction.  But on the other hand, perhaps I would not go at all if I did not pay money to belong, and quite a lot of money at that.

But I think the real reason for my own attrition is that the experience has not been engaging.  We process through shabbos morning, told that it is sacred but not living it as sacred.  That comes from a measure of personalization which needs to extend to all elements of synagogue engagement and effort to make the experience interactive.  Not very high on the agenda of the Board or the Nominating Committee.  It shows in any number of subtle forms.

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