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    I don’t go to shule

    Dear Rabbi: My wife and I get on well (we’ve been married for 25 years) but have never been able to agree about going to shule on Yom Kippur. She will never stay away unless there is an emergency. I don’t go to shule because it does nothing for me. What advice, if any, can you give me? I like you very much and would value your counsel. Best wishes… Steven.

    Dear Steven: Even though you don’t think shule services can do anything for you, I think your wife has discovered something valuable and you should share it with her.

    Not just because the shule needs support, not just because you might enjoy the musical side of the service, not just because you might find something worthwhile in my sermons, not just because it would make your wife happy… but because you are likely to derive some benefit from going.

    Golda Meir said in Moscow soon after the establishment of Israel, “I am not so religious, but on Yom Kippur when the Jews go to Synagogue my place is with the Jews”. Anyone can meditate at the water’s edge or under a tree but there are times to be “with the Jews”.

    Nobody has to daven when they go to shule: anyone can take a book and read and think. Nobody has to be a believer when they are in shule. Belief cannot be foisted upon anyone. Everyone has times or lifetimes of doubt: some work their way through but not all. Maybe you can give God the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you can find God: maybe you will let Him find you.

    Best wishes… Rabbi.

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