When you live in a town with many Shuls, and many people, it’s understandable to think that the Shuls don’t really need me, so I’ll just choose what works best for me. Perhaps this is a contributing factor to the continuing diminishment of the importance of Shuls in our lives. Or perhaps in the larger communities, we’ve always had only 10% to 20% who were strongly committed to their Shuls.
Covid-19 has certainly changed the dynamics. For many weeks we were Shuls of one, so if you didn’t show up, there was no davening (haha). And with the partial return of our minyanim, we are Shuls, or driveways, of ten. With these smaller counts, everybody is needed to make the minyan. In my neighborhood, people have stepped up to the plate, and are making and keeping their commitment to their minyanim.
Perhaps being needed will create a sense of belonging, and when we make a fuller Shul return, people will look for opportunities to belong, and become more committed and involved. Or perhaps we’ll go back to our old norms, and we won’t ask what we can do for our Shul, rather we’ll ask what has our Shul done for us lately.
I’m not sure whether we’ll see permanent changes, but at least we can enjoy the increased commitment in our current situation, and the increased achdus that it brings in its wake.