The shul that I attend is not big, or flashy, or popular. It is not "The Scene", or even a scene. It's smaller than it probably should be, considering the ever-expanding frum demographic in my neighborhood. I often get labeled (or jokingly label myself) anti-social for going there while most of the people I know attend The Big Shul.
However, I have my reasons for going there. First of all, I like that it's not a scene. I can go there and daven and concentrate on my tefillot rather than on who's walking in or what the girls in front of me are wearing. There are a few people my age, but there are also older people and middle aged people and younger people and some kids running around. If I don't come to shul for a few weeks in a row (which happens fairly often, as I go away a lot), when I come back people will come up to me at kiddush and welcome me back and ask me how I've been. If I didn't go to The Big Shul for a year, no one would notice.
Another thing I really like about belonging to a small shul (yes, I pay membership dues!) is that each individual really has an opportunity to have an impact. For instance, this Shabbos, I was sort of on my way out after kiddush when I overheard a snatch of conversation - something about someone looking for sources of kosher cheeses and chocolate from various countries. Of course, they weren't asking for my personal input, but it happened to be that I knew of a source of chocolate from one of the countries they were seeking to get product from, so I piped up, "Oh, I know of a company that makes kosher chocolate in [insert country]! It's the Thus-and-Such Company, and it's under [the local, generally reliable Va'ad HaKashrus]."
All of a sudden, I find myself a part of an impromptu brainstorming session about a future event to be held at the shul in order to get the word out in the neighborhood about the shul, and possibly raise a little money as well. I introduce myself to the main character who seems to be involved in the planning - interestingly enough, someone else who is new to the shul - and she asks if I happen to be on the shul's Events Committee.
"Not yet," I answered.
"You are now!" she replied, and we shook hands on it. She said she'd get my number from the shul secretary and call me the next time they have an official meeting of the Events Committee. And just like that, I'm a full-fledged member of said committee and am fully involved in all of the planning of this event and other future events to be held at the shul. Wonderful!
I ended up staying at shul at least twenty minutes longer than I had originally intended to, but I left feeling excited and exhilarated. Where else could that happen, that by chance I could put in my two cents and end up on the Events Committee? I'd get swallowed up in a larger shul. Maybe others like the commotion, the "scene". I like my small, homey shul, where I can make a difference. :)