Synagogue Benefits
Wed, 09/04/2013

It was wonderful to see an essay concerning Jewish atheists (“Why Go to Synagogue If You Don’t Believe In God?” Aug. 30). This is a topic that should be discussed more often. However, as a Jewish atheist, I found Rabbi Levitt’s analysis missing the mark in several areas.

Although one doesn’t need to attend services to be Jewish by halachic standards, doing so makes one feel more connected to the tradition in a cultural sense, much like eating matzah ball soup and challah, and it’s a satisfying feeling. Sure, services can give you shpilkes [anxiety], but not everything in life needs to be fun. A key is to find a rabbi who is engaging, who explains the meaning of what is going on in the service, encourages questions. If you open your mind, you may even gain philosophical insight by translating the biblical tales metaphorically, much as a Freudian or Jungian would approach dream analysis.

 Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

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