Being A Member of a Congregation

One of today’s la_observed items was about Wilshire Blvd Temple–specifically how a chunk of plaster had fallen from their main sanctuary, closing that part of the building. However, the original headline was that “Wilshire Blvd Temple Is Closed”, which prompted me to go out to their website, look for news, etc.

That got me thinking. I’m a dues paying member of Temple Ahavat Shalom right now. But I still get the Temple Beth Hillel e-Newsletter, and I still regularly read the Temple Beth Torah newsletter. Even though I don’t read the newsletter regularly, I still care about the folks at Wilshire Blvd Temple, and even the folks at Or Rishon, because I care about the Rabbi there. I still, in some sense, even have a spiritual connection to Temple Akiba in Culver City as it is the spiritual successor to my first congregtion, Temple Israel of Westcheter/Temple Jeremiah, and to Kol Tikvah, the spiritual successor to Temple Emet of Woodland Hills. Although I am only paying dues to one of these, I view myself (to varying degrees) as still a member of the community of my past congregations.

So here’s my question to you: What is your relationship to your past congregations (and churchs count as well, for you Christians out there). Once you leave a congregation, is it “good bye and good riddance”, or do you still view yourself as a distant family member, still caring about the people there even though you might never see them again?