Take a glance around the room and observe everyone reciting the same prayer in unison, like robots. Little girls in itchy dresses grasping their mothers sweaty palms. Men adjusting their uncomfortable ties every few minutes. Woman glancing down at their watches, their minds wondering to what is next on the to do list for the day. The leader of the service is on a podium, above the rest. Everyone is griping the same worn out red book, flipping the same pages back and forth.

Everyone has their own special way of practicing their religion. Some pray every morning, some go to weekly mass, some just celebrate holidays. Personally, as a reform jew, I discover the most about myself and my religion by casually talking one on one to my rabbi, or participating in unique services. Yes, I can recite prayers with my fellow congregants for an hour, but it really does nothing for me unless I know what I am saying and truly understand what it means. Religion for me is about curiosity. Curiosity for what comes after life. Curiosity about what is the purpose of life. Curiosity as to why things happen. Having deep philosophical discussions with my rabbi or my peers is what connects me to my religion.

I am not saying abandon your weekly routine of attending organized worship, or that there is anything wrong with it. I just don't understand how one can develop an true connection with their religion, when jammed into rows next to strangers trying to listen to a sermon or prayer. So I leave you with a piece of advice: step out of your comfort zone. Ask uncomfortable questions, have a discussion with your religious leader or fellow congregants. THINK about what you are reciting, and who knows, maybe you'll discover answers to questions you never even dreamed of.