(Continuing the story.)
My synagogue is big, about 4,000 members. This poses a problem on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when everyone comes out of the woodwork. Since all those people could never fit at our usual location, we also held High Holy Day services at a church ten blocks away, a grand, Gothic-style monument to Christian Science that sat 2,500 and featured twenty-foot-high gilded quotes from Mary Baker Eddy ringing the stone walls. The massive space did help inspire thoughts of atonement by making me feel tiny and insignificant, but facing east for the Amidah only to stare smack at a building-sized stained-glass window of Jesus kneeling at Mary's feet posed some challenges when trying to concentrate on prayer. From the top of the back balcony, the rabbis looked like highly amplified ants in long white robes.
The church was sold last year, to another, richer denomination that could better afford the mortgage. The new residents declined to have us back.