Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Love Thy Neighbor


As “good” religious Jewish people, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This  is unfortunately often forgotten in our daily life.  We see it so often clearly when we desire something that another receives.  We would like to be honored, respected, and appreciated.  If we do not receive what we deserve or desire, we become unhappy and frequently angry at the individual who received the honor that we believed was ours.  Often the giver of the ‘koved’ is a very crude person who enjoys hurting the individual who was ignored and attacks the person, calling her insulting, sexual and childish names to embarrass the hurt individual.

The synagogue should be a place of love, where people enter to pray with their Jewish friends and family who care about each other and enjoy one another and know they will not be negatively judged. It should be a place where folks can relax, where there is a feeling of equality, love, and understanding, a place where there is no need to hide, where to be Jewish is a blessing, not a place of anger and misunderstanding, where people can relax and be themselves, and are accepted and believed.

Those who want to compete and hurt others, and who look down upon their Jewish neighbors, should not enter the synagogue. They can make themselves important in other ways and other places.  They do not belong where people care about each other, understand each other, pray to “Hashem,” and feel welcome. It is not a place where angry and unhappy individuals show their “brilliance” and attempt to gain their unfulfilled needs! It is not a place to teach others how to live, since the synagogue members do understand their needs and do not need “make believe parents” to show them the way!  Attending synagogue is a way of understanding ourselves and each other without criticism, and is there so that we may enjoy our Judaism, our holidays, our history, our fellow Jews, and the friends we have made.  Criticism should not be brought into the synagogue!  It is a place to pray, to celebrate with friends, and have a peaceful satisfying day.


 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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