In Praise of Shul Families

Reposted in honor of the upcoming Chasanah of Y. S.

There are some aspects of a successful Shul that are easy to quantify, such as a balanced budget, a reasonably paced davening, and Shul attendance. There are other aspects that are harder to precisely measure, but add even more value, such as a great Rabbi, a cohesive membership, and solid Shul families.

A Shul family is one in which the entire family participates, contributes and cares deeply about the Shul. They are active in the care and feeding of the Shul, they come regularly on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and they participate in Shul activites.

And perhaps the most interesting dynamic is how we experience the growth of their children. They are not immediate family or relatives, but we get a front row seat as they progress from Adon Olam, to Bar Mitzvah, to personable teenager, and G-d willing, to the Chuppah and beyond. We share in their Simchas, we watch them grow, we enjoy their company, and because they’re not involved in the day-to-day stuff, we don’t have conflicts with them. It’s a little like grand-parenting, lots of nachas, without the difficult parts.

This post coincides with the simcha of the S family. They typify a solid Shul family, who are liked by all, not just because of what they give, but because of who they are. It’s important to appreciate how we benefit from various aspects of the Shul, and when it comes to Shul families we need to recognize how by just being who they are, they add so much to our lives.