Discover Rosh Hashanah: Making Synagogue Meaningful

I read this article and thought about the tips and their relation to my experience during the Rosh Hashanah synogogue service. The first tip that really resonates with me is tip 1 - that five minutes of prayer said with understanding, feeling, and a personal connection to the words and their significance means far more than five hours of lip service. It is difficult for me to really feel connected and comprehend the meaning of some of the prayers and a lot of them seem so repetitive. However, I make an effort to really identify with and understand a few prayers and feel spiritually connected, which contributes to an overall meaningful spiritual experience. The second tip that resonated with me is tip 6 - "As you sit in your synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur you are joined by millions of Jews in synagogues all over the world. You are a Jew and you are making a powerful statement about your commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people". The idea of unity is a very powerful concept and I really appreciated it during my birthright trip in Israel. It is incredible to think that Jews from all over the world are united by this. I also have an appreciation for tip 5 - "You’re not that proficient in Hebrew? Don’t worry, G-d understands whatever language you speak. And, like a loving parent, He can discern what’s in your heart even if you can’t quite express it the way you would like." This resonates with me because I know how to read hebrew and would make an effort to read in hebrew in synogogue, but I then switched to reading the english so I can actually understand what I am saying, which adds more meaning. A tip that I would suggest to make someone's synogogue experience more meaningful would be to read commentary and insights about the prayers if they are available in the prayer book. The book I used in synogogue had alot of fascinating commentary from different rabbis explaining the meaning/ history of certain prayers and I found it to be very interesting and it certainly added meaning.

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Robert Soifer

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