I went to synagogue last Friday. I was giddy about it all day, like a kid on Christmas. I am absolutely fascinated by Judaism, which is why if ever I decide to get a Ph.D. it will certainly be in something relating to the Hebrew Scriptures. Well, needless to say, I absolutely loved it and would go every Shabbat if it were closer to my house. It was almost entirely composed of congregational chanting/singing in Hebrew (good practice for me). It was a Reformed synagogue (but not of the Luther stripe), meaning it wasn’t crazy conservative (Orthodox) and neither was it crazy liberal (Reconstructionist)…it might be described as a Jewish PCA of sorts (of course ‘crazy liberal/conservative’ is quite relative I’ve learned coming from Liberty to Westminster). I really did love the tradition and the emphasis on “remembrance.” Remember who you are in the Almighty, remember what it means to be God’s people. They were all so sincere and so serious about their faith, something a lot of us could learn something about. It wasn’t at all about ‘knowing the right things,’ it was about embodying this thing they called “Judaism.”
For those who aren’t familiar and with blatant oversimplification, Judaism accepts what Christians call the Old Testament and the coming of Messiah, but denies that Jesus of Nazareth was in fact that Messiah. Because of this, after the destruction of Temple in 70 CE, Judaism took on even more of a bibliocentric and communal nature. So, since 70 CE Judaism has really evolved.
Overall, I loved it, absolutely. They didn’t wear their religion on their sleeve, you could tell they felt a part of the Judaic narrative, they were entrenched in the story, and I envied that.