I was recently thinking about this question and am curious as to others' opinions. What attracts you to a shul and why? The building? The cholent served at the kiddush? The derasha of the Rav? The social crowd? The chazzan? For those of you out there who are practicing Rabbanim, do you throw everything you can out there and hope you hit the magic trigger that will turn people on to your shul, or is there one particular quality that you work on to distinguish your message?
Have you given your answer some thought? I am curious if anyone else included in their answer a factor that I rank as being of primacy importance. The magic word: stimulation. Maybe it’s just me, but unless my brain is working, I just get bored, lose interest, and start getting impatient. Stimulation can come in a lot of different forms, e.g. a new melody incorporated into tefilah, a different dish at the kiddush, etc. but for me those items sit on the periphery. For a different food I can go to a restaurant, for a different nigun I can go to a concert, for a social outing I can go to a Mets game. What being in a makom torah can give that those experiences can’t is one thing: Torah. By that I don’t mean a stale vort that has been passed around for 200 years and is delivered with the usual platitudes about the importance of chessed, torah, etc. I mean Torah in the sense of a meaningful insight that challenges me to think, to evaluate, to learn and grow. In other words, Torah that stimulates.