Are you just a Jew on shabbos?

For most people, morning minyan is a way of life. Either they find the virtue of starting their day with connection to God, their families force them to go or they feel driven to complete a fledgling minyan. I myself have been attending minyan lately and much to my dismay, the place I go to doesn’t always get a minyan. I wish they did, because they are always so close, but I have some ideas as to why the minyan is so lame.

When I lived in San Jose, coming to shul was always an uncomfortable experience and I mean this in a good way. The Rabbi in San Jose is so into fire and brimstone mussar combined with individual attention to your needs – that every time I attend shul I feel like his mussar is directed at me. Of course, I always walk out of there feeling like a piece of shit that has miles of self help and improvement to do, but this is how Judaism should be practiced. To me, Judaism is a never ending game of self improvement. We are constantly trying to figure out how to best serve God, be good to our fellow humans and be a light unto the world that it’s only natural that Jews not remain stagnant or complacent in their religious practice.

One of the reasons why the minyan I attend in the mornings is so fledgling in my view is that most of the Jews seem to be lacking any push to attend shul. I could never imagine the Rabbi getting up in one of his weekly sermons and demanding that more people come to shul in the morning and than admonishing the congregation for being pathetic Jews who only come once a week to shul and never step foot into it any other time.

One of my friends in San Francisco explained the phenomena of the comfort Jew. The community is filled with young couples and other individuals who rarely show up to shul or join in events, but the mere thought of living in the “community” or being a “member” of the local orthodox shul is good enough to assuage any feelings of guilt. I find it almost reprehensible that the conservative shul down the road gets a daily minyan with no trouble at all, yet the more “traditional” shul of supposedly more “authentic” Jews can barely get more than 7 on a daily basis.

I do understand that not all Rabbis can be as forceful and as persausive as the Rabbi in San Jose. Regardless of whether or not they agree with him, love the Rabbi in San Jose because it’s hard to find people who speak their mind in the Bay Area. I have been told that in many other shuls the board would have gotten rid of any Rabbi who spoke their mind to often. But, there are other ways to plea with a packed shabbos morning shul about the lacking minyan.

You can speak about the importance on minyan, do these people who are not attending daily minyan understand the importance of davening with a minyan or saying and responding kaddesh. What about hearing laining? I even wonder how many of these peoiple put on tefillin every day? Or are they merely shabbos Jews in the fullest and the week is never devoted to God, Judaism or community?

Find out more on the importance of minyan at