What if I made decisions based only on my own needs?
What if I made decisions to satisfy my present without any concern for the past or future?
And what if everyone else made the same decision that I did?
Do people even think about these things before choosing to leave a synagogue? Do they EVER think to themselves: “Gee, if everyone else quit paying membership, how would the shul stay in business?”
These are the same folks who years (even decades) later are in need of a rabbi to officiate at the funeral of a loved one, call the shul, and insist that “their rabbi do the service.” The same rabbi of the synagogue they chose to stop supporting because “we just don’t need the synagogue anymore.” How, do you suppose, they think the shul can still afford to pay a rabbi?
[Before you leave a lengthy comment about the high cost of Judaism, let me be perfectly clear — our shul Does. Not. Ever. turn anyone away based on finances. Ever. It has been a hallmark of our shul since its inception. And, quite frankly, it is one of our values of which I am most proud. We truly do believe that money should never be a barrier to becoming a part of our community.]
Remember, the oft-quoted words of Rabbi Hillel are meant to be read together:
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when?
~ Avot 1.14