Heading Back to My Roots at Syracuse’s Hotel Skyler
Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches
Last week, I was driving with my husband Josh from Toronto to Garrison, New York for the wedding of our niece, Sarah. Hesitant to drive all day on Friday and head right into wedding festivities Friday evening, we left Toronto on Thursday night bound for Syracuse, where my family has roots. Syracuse often pops up on college tour itineraries in Upstate New York. Within an hour of Syracuse lie not only Syracuse University but also Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, several SUNY Colleges, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, and many more. When I passed through on college visits in 2015, the place we stayed overnight was nondescript.
However, this visit was different: Josh and I rested our weary heads in a hotel that used to be the orthodox synagogue of my great grandparents, Max and Eva Bragman, Congregation Adath Yeshurun, now the Hotel Skyler!
A steady arrival of Jewish immigrants arrived in Syracuse in the early 19th century and the earliest temple was founded in 1839. In 1870, young men who had immigrated from Poland began to worship together, and this transitioned into “Congregation Adas (later Adath) Yeshurun.” The Congregation met in a South Crouse Avenue synagogue from 1921 until 1971, when a larger and more modern space for the growing community was deemed necessary. This South Crouse Avenue synagogue is now the Hotel Skyler. The historic edifice of the original Temple is intact. In 2011, the hotel became the third in the United States and the first in Syracuse to be certified LEED Platinum. Hotel Skyler joined the Tapestry Collection by Hilton in 2017.
After a good night’s sleep, we had excellent coffee and breakfast sandwiches at the Heritage Cafe, then we visited many other local sites steeped in family history for me. I’d recommend the Hotel Skyler if you pass through Syracuse. Contact ActiveTravels for more information, and we’d be glad to help.