I spent Yom Kippur in my local synagogue. Ours is a small community where it is very hard to have a minyian every week, which means that some years we have very few services. However the president always makes sure we have all the Yom Kippur services. One prayer leader is hired for the occasion and he is usually accompanied by another capable singer who can relay him.
This year we had more visitors than usual, which means that we had an average of 20 people all the time. One family invited relatives from Paris. Two people who live in the area booked a hotel room for the occasion so that they wouldn’t have to drive. One guy from Bolivia who is studying in Paris and who is doing an internship in a local firm attended all the services from beginning to end.
At the end we had the usual crowd of more than 60 people, thus making our small synagogue seem quite cramped. It was a mixed crowd of Sephardim and Ashkenazim, young and older folks, people from all waks of life and every degree of observance. Some people had moved or were now to old to attend but there were also new families.
All in all, it was a stimulating and invigorating experience that all the “usual” members described as unique. We hope that this will encourage more people to attend the Friday evening Shabbat services.