Shul on the Hill

Left_LogoI MAY HAVE FOUND MY SYNAGOGUE here on the East End (I say ‘may’ because I’m still shopping around).

I went to Yom Kippur services at Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, the oldest synagogue on Long Island (if you don’t count Brooklyn and Queens, which are technically also on Long Island). I found the unpretentious building very much to my liking (I have a habit of choosing a house of worship largely for its architecture). I also liked the gender-neutral prayerbook and the way the rabbi, Leon Morris, made the service personal and very moving.

The building, which dates from 1898, is sweet, sitting on a hill in a neighborhood of vintage cottages. It has been in almost continuous operation since 40 or 50 fresh-off-the-boat Jewish craftsmen, with their families, were brought out directly from Ellis Island in the late 19th century to work in the watch factories of Sag Harbor.

I love the elaborately carved wood decoration above the altar, the vibrant (relatively recent) stained glass windows, and the fact that the main sanctuary only seats about 100 people, with High Holiday overflow in an annex.

The shul (Yiddish for synagogue) doesn’t require tickets for Yom Kippur, the holiest and most crowded of Jewish holidays. “We don’t turn anyone away,” said Howard Chwatsky, a longtime congregant and this year’s treasurer.

It’s a warm and welcoming place for a wandering Jew like me.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in HAMPTONS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, LONG ISLAND and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Shul on the Hill

  1. Fifi Flowers says:

    LOVE those colourful chairs!

  2. stolen quote says:

    “All who wander are not lost.”

  3. Terry Kearns says:

    Beautiful, thanks so much.

  4. Julie says:

    Fascinating history. Thanks for sharing and glad you found somewhere you may like. [interesting that other synagogues require tickets for Yom Kippur]

  5. patrick says:

    This is a really nice spot in town. As a bonus, it is right around the corner from one of those home-grown coffee shops, which I of course can’t remember the name of (The Fransican, maybe?), but it’s a little Italian deli kind of coffee shop.

    What I found especially remarkable about your article is that the oldest synagogue on Long Island dates back to only 1898! I would have thought there were Jewish communities much much earlier. I live next to the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on CPW, and that congregation was founded in the 1650s (although their current building only dates back to the end of the 19th century).

  6. cara says:

    Apparently it took the Jews a long time to find the Hamptons!

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