I personally find it difficult to sit through a long-winded service replete with a cantor yodeling even the most beautiful melodies. I have always been puzzled as to how a synagogue service ever became a one-man concert rather than something participatory which involves the whole community in singing. For that reason, I have always organized small High Holy Day services which, to be sure, are about reciting the whole davening but are also about discussion and explanation, which makes them inclusive and participatory.
But there seems to be a disturbing trend in Jewish life whereby individuals are being rendered passive. They sit and listen to the rabbi, they sit and listen to the cantor, the youth director prays with their kids while they sit in silent submission in the pews. And truth be told, this idleness is boring the heck out of most Jews and slowly killing off Jewish communal passion.
The writer is the founder of The Jewish Values Network which seeks to bring Jewish values to the mainstream Jewish and non-Jewish public. His upcoming book, The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets to Reca