I have been a guest at many shuls around the country, the farther you get from the Tri-state area the friendlier they are, usually. Why should it be like this? Why shouldn’t every shul try and be as friendly as possible? I just don’t understand it. At least the Rabbi who probably knows who is a guest and who isn’t a guest should come up and say hello and ask you if you need a place to eat.
I one time davened at a very small shul in Kew Garden Hills and had heard that it was a nice shul, everyone in the shul knew each other besides me- the shul had a small Kiddush that week and everyone had to stand around while the people brought up the stale pretzel sticks and dried up humus from the basement. I felt awkward, I never feel awkward and I have been stared at my millions of little Chassidic kids and mother rushing their kids away from the crazy man walking around his house in the shtetle without a shirt on. But this was insane, there were maybe 20 people in the entire shul and not one person nodded or said anything. I was thinking of walking up to the Rabbi and saying “you know it would be nice if you made guests feel welcome by going up to them and being warm” I wanted to do it so badly, is that not part of a Rabbis job- maybe that’s why we need women Rabbis- they are much more friendly.
I asked Rabbi Bomzer in Albany this question, he is a dear friend of mine and the Jewish Geography welcoming guests to the shul master. He will stop everything to welcome a guest and he responded that I most certainly should complain to any Rabbi in who’s shul you do not feel welcome. Man that would take forever.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting a welcoming committee with scantily clad women feeding me grapes on a lush red carpet (it would be nice) but at least some “good shabbosses” or “I don’t believe we’ve met” or maybe even “do you have a place?” God forbid anyone should make someone feel welcome in their shul.
Not on a weekday, but on a shabbos when most of the people in shul are regulars- and everyone can spot a guest, especially if you’re the single person not wearing a talis, or maybe the only one not wearing a white shirt or a hat, or a suit for that matter. I rarely wear a suit on shabbos if its over 70 degrees out and in Monsey they all know I’m a guest- come on people show some love.