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.