The Old Neighborhood Part I
2013 East Genesee Street / Former Anshe Sfard Synagogue
- Built: Unknown
- Architect: Unknown
Across East Genesee Street from the Babcock-Shattuck House is a site that has gone through several transformations over the past two hundred years. An article in the Post-Standard (Dec. 30, 1909) reports that two old wood frame buildings that had once served as inns or hotels for the stagecoach along the old turnpike were to be demolished for housing. The smaller had been a tavern and had been moved to this site when Columbus Park was developed a short ways to the west on East Genesee Street. Indeed, at least one large house was built on the site by A. J. De Mott and Edward H. Dann in 1910. In 1950, this house was transformed into a synagogue for the Orthodox Anshe Sfard Congregation, which moved east to this site when much of the Syracuse’s Jewish community settled in the area after World War II. Anshe Sfard sold its building at 815 South Orange Street in the 15th Ward, and followed the Jewish migration to the Westcott neighborhood. The congregation, which was founded around 1907, purchased the large late 19th-century house at the northeast corner of Westcott and East Genesee Streets and remodeled the building to serve as a synagogue by adding an entry wing in the (then) modern style to the East Genesee façade.
The congregation’s name indicates its use of the Nusach Sfard, a liturgy favored by Eastern European Hasidim, members of the widespread pietistic and charismatic religious movement founded by the Baal Shem Tov in the late 18th century that swept Eastern Europe. Members of Syracuse’s Anshe Sfard congregation had origins in Odessa and Kishinev, Ukraine.
According to historian of Syracuse’s Jewish community G. B. Rudolph in From a Minyan to a Community, the congregation’s first place of worship was on State Street over harness shop. By 1917 they had enough funds to erect a purpose-built synagogue at 815 South Orange Street (now McBride St.). The congregation dispersed in 19?? The building now houses the Syracuse Peace Council.
“2 Landmarks Give way to Dwellings,” The Post-Standard (Dec. 30, 1919).
Rudolph, B. G. From a Minyan to a Community: A History of the Jews of Syracuse (Syracuse: Syracuse university Press, 1970).