It is part of the Jewish ethos to question why one should become a member of a synagogue. After all isn’t it enough to be Jewish without belonging to a synagogue?
Feeling Jewish means something unique for each person. Yet, this is only the beginning of what it means to be Jewish. We have historically seen ourselves as a covenantal community — tied not only to God, but also to each other in the form of the Jewish people. It is very hard to be Jewish by oneself.
The synagogue serves to bring Jews together — for worship, study, and community. Here we educate youth and adult alike in all things Jewish. Here we experience friendship. Here we rejoice in each other’s times of joy, and console one another when loss of a loved one must be confronted. Here we come together to address larger Jewish concerns of supporting Israel, and from here we engage in Tikkun Olam — working together to improve the nature of our society and world.
Here we find our own individual and unique place within the Jewish people spread throughout the world, and here we form a new link in the chain of Jewish tradition carrying on historic values for future generations to inherit.
We come together in communal life recognizing that even if we don’t have children of religious school age — still we have the obligation to educate others. Even if we aren’t about to have a bar/bat mitzvah or wedding, our role is to create the context from which these life cycle events gain meaning. Even if we are not in mourning, still it is important for us to support those who have lost a loved one. There are things that we can’t do by ourselves, but by joining together, our strength becomes larger than the sum of many Jewish individuals. Joining a synagogue, then, can certainly give each of us a sense of fulfillment, but it is more than that. It isn’t just about how we feel inside, but what we do to act out our Jewish values.