Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


The Reason for Synagogues and Their Meaning


When we attend synagogue we have a feeling of belongingj.  We are there to be accepted, to understand what is difficult, to know that we are not alone, to know that there is more and better than what we have on earth, that we are assured the unknowable, that there is a parent figure who knows and sees all, that he sees that which is un-seeable with our human vision, that we are rewarded for the good that we do.  By attending and believing, we have many “friends” and cohorts who are in agreement with our belief in rewards for who we are and what we believe and carry out.  We know that there is someone above us who hears and see all, who hears our prayers and the actions that we take in the part of the life that we do and do not see.  We cannot see the un-seeable, but we do the “right” thing, which helps others as ourselves.  We follow the ten commandments and more, as the unseen God would have ordered us.

When we analyze today’s world, we find a different reality.  It unfortunately has folk who need to use their attendance to satisfy their greed to be noticed, to be important, to be human deities, to be narcissistic mothers and fathers, to be superior, to be presidents of their world.  What is right or wrong is what they do regardless of reality, regardless of their station.  They want to be the human deity, who knows, sees, and is above the ordinary mortal.  They make all possible decisions, what is to be said, what is to be paid, and what behavior should exist. They decide when the building should be changed and where it should stand, how much should be donated by the members, and who they really are regardless of reality.  These self determined  bosses are able to call those individuals names who do not agree with them or who they determine are the “lowbrows,” the unimportant folk in their holy opinions. These bosses can call names and put their children into positions to earn money, and belittle the folk who have much more education than the self made deity.  They insult those who they dislike, particularly an individual who is far more educated or responsible than they. They belittle these folk and ultimately  damage them with their psychopathic behavior.  They lose those who are knowledgeable and truthful – the quiet ones.  Beware of the loud self made bosses, of the folks that we see too often in our synagogues!  When they feel they're not being heard, they loudly attack the quiet ones with unmentionable curse names.  An excellent example are folks who were large hats, run to the front to show themselves at the smallest occasion, and gather votes to make themselves important and seen!  Employment of curse words is their happiest achievement! What they say cannot be erased.

Let us remember that synagogues are to continue our religion, be friendly and kind to our fellow people, celebrate the same holidays, and make life easier for one another and do kindness where needed.  Name calling, mistreating the poor, and behaving like children does not belong in a synagogue!   


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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