'The Synagogue is not a Place to Meet Friends'
Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the Rabbi of Ramat Gan, devoted his weekly column in Arutz Sheva to the status of the synagogue in Jewish life.
"The synagogue must be the center of the community, where a person begins and ends his day – the shaharit prayer in the morning, and minha and arvit in the evening,” he said.
Some people think the synagogue is a place to get together, meet friends, and read Sabbath brochures, the rabbi complained. Some of these brochures, he added, “do not even contain Torah teachings. The plague of brochures is ruining the synagogues. They can be taken out of the synagogue and only be handed out after the prayers; let each person take one to his home.”
"A synagogue is a holy place,” he reminded his readers.
As for Torah study – “A man must open the Gemara in his house, and study,” he explained. “He doe not have to study the daf yomi [daily page], but he should study Torah. Besides the personal Torah study, there is the matter of public Torah study. Ezra determined that Torah must be read on Mondays and Thursdays. Reading the Torah is also a form of study.”
Most of all, the Sabbath is the day for public Torah study.
"That is the mission,” he summed up. “That is how a Jewish society, a Jewish state, the Jewish nation, should look.”