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In a city with many shuls, in what way should we think about the individual shuls?

a) They are “service” (no pun intended) providers and I will take the services as they suit me best. Even if I take membership of one or more shuls, that does not limit my use of the other shuls.

b) Once I become a member of one shul, I have an obligation towards it to organise my life around its timetable to preferably go to its shiurim and other events.

There are obvious advantages of a community: people take an interest for and care for each other; if I am not in shul people will check to see if I am well etc.

The ideal answer would contain some form of source material – if not responsa, at least stories of Gedolim.

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Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 90:19, says:

One should designate a place for his prayer, one he should not change unnecessarily. It's insufficient to designate a synagogue to pray in: even in the synagogue he's designated, it's necessary that he have a designated place.

Your question seems to be asking about both prayer and others uses (classes etc.) of a synagogue. I don't know about the other uses, but as far as prayer goes the Shulchan Aruch seems pretty clear.

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I had the experience of seeing my shul being used just for the convenience of another member (eg he came because he wanted to say the haftorah the shabbos before a yahrzeit or he needed the shul to have an amud from which to daven during aveilus).

To my shame, this made me feel bad. I did not like the experience of seeing the shul used for the convenience of someone else.

So as Hillel says in the Gemoro Shabbos 31a

דעלך סני לחברך - לא תעביד

what is hateful to you, do not do to your colleague.

I deduce that it is better not to use the shul for my own convenience because others might not like it!

I realise that this answer does not meet my own ideal criteria of responsa or at least stories of Gedolim!

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