Synagogue Makes Jews Happier, Healthier, Too

They've done studies on how going to church can make your life better, but I don't remember any done on synagogues.  And now, we're finding out that going to temple makes Jews feel better, too.

Two new Baylor University studies show that "Israeli Jewish adults who attend synagogue regularly, pray often, and consider themselves religious are significantly healthier and happier than their non-religious counterparts," according to a story at They're also more satisfied with life.

I'm a regular church goer -- I teach Sunday school and also volunteer at an afterschool homework club there -- and I have to admit that going to church just stabilizes my life.  I also have to say that there have been periods in my life when I've been very angry at God, yet I still needed to go to church on Sunday.

Most recently, a young friend with a son my own son's age, died of cancer, and though she had been sick for some time, I was still so mad at God.  She had seemed to be doing better and all I could think about was her young child, and how he was ever going to fill that hole in his life.

But church was the one place, the only place, that I felt I could get some, if not peace, at least vent my anger (even if only silently).  I went to church the Sunday before her funeral, and then her actual funeral, two days later, and I was still so angry, but during the service -- at which both her husband and 12-year-old son gave heart-rending eulogies -- I began to realize how much she had been loved, and the best part was, she knew it, all during her short life. 

I was still mad but I felt her looking down at us all through the service, and smiling.

So why wouldn't our Jewish friends feel this way, too?  My husband is Jewish and we are raising our son Jewish, and many of our beliefs are the same.  My son told me recently he doesn't believe in God, which truly horrified me, but I'm hoping he, too, as he grows, will come to want the closeness and commuity (and God) of a temple.


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