Jewish tradition maintains that besides serving a logistical function as a place of gathering, the shul or synagogue is also sanctified. As such, even outside of minyan times, the place is ideal for effective prayer. Click here for a Take Ten for Talmud perspective Brachos 6- The Power of Davening in Shul
Although the original use of a Synagogue, or Beis Hakinesses- House of gathering, was for communal prayer, over the years its function has become a central gathering place for the Jewish community provide a forum for promoting mitzvos and for socializing. One of the great challenges is to encourage people to utilize the shul as a communal gathering place without having the socializing or talking infringe on the prayer service. Over the years a variety of campaigns have been made to ensure that proper decorum is in place during prayer services, including the place-mark featured here which includes the special blessing of the Tosfos Yom Tov directed to those who are careful not to talk extraneously during the prayer service.
Another challenge that is developing in our time is the ringing cell phone during davening. People calling have no idea that they are disturbing. Yet unless teh ringer is turned off, a person will unwittingly disturb the prayers. Consider MinyanSilencer, a free app that automatically turns off a phone’s ringer at preset times.