Shul Psychopaths

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Is What We See Real?


Are Synagogue Boards Made Up of Insightful Healthy People?

Do we get that which we see?  BEWARE OF DELUSIONS

People want to be seen, liked, and heard.  They want attention.  Some get it by their abilities, by becoming professionals that are important or unique, something we the people need and are unable to do for ourselves.  A physician who can heal, a person who knows where to find what we need, or someone who can give or do for us what is necessary or helpful, will always attract notice.  There are the doers, the givers, the sincere, the kind, the knowledgeable.  Then there are those who want to be the important ones, such as the presidents of organizations, or those who are different in order to receive attention.  Those are the people who already as children are the noticed ones, not for their grades, but for the noise or behavior they exhibit, getting attention by talking out loud when the teacher is speaking or dressing differently.  Adults also do similar things.  It is a pity when it happens in a “house of worship.”  Such a person may become president of a synagogue or have some role that calls attention to himself by “hook or by crook.”  Such folks exist in our midst and we must be aware to not be deluded.  They are folks who scream “me, me, me” and, unfortunately, occasionally become the Hitlers in our midst.  

There is the woman with a title who wears a large multicolored hat, or some bright outfit that is very different and causes her to be seen as she pushes her way to the front of the alter in the synagogue as much as is possible.  Aside from this, she needs to domineer, and to “boss” others, who she believes are underlings.  She is no longer working, and needs attention.

One example occurred in a synagogue not long ago.  She attacked a member in the hall by cursing her because she felt like leaving her anger out on a person whom she disliked, and swore at her for being in the hall to answer an emergency call. She crudely called this innocent  highly educated person a “fu----g   whore.”   No  one heard her except the innocent victim.  On the “outside” she sent notices for people to give clothing to the poor, to be good, kind, and just people, to love one another, etc.   This allegedly hard working woman for the poor is a very angry person who attacks human beings who she believes are worthless. 

As normal people, we must look closely at folks, analyze their motives, and be careful that there are no delusions.  Psychopaths or Hitlerians are sometimes even in houses of worship.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles, including The American Drug Culture (with Dr. Thomas S. Weinberg & Dr. Gerhard Falk, 2018).

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