In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in an answer) but I would like to understand what purpose (if any) this serves conceptually?
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Kav Chaim 1 says the reason the front row faces the congregation is since the Bima is in the center of the Synagogue and that is where the Torah is read, that way there is a remembrance of Har Sinai, where all were facing the mountain.
I heard once from Rabbi Yisroel Miller that the reason for this is to instill fear in the tzibur during davening.