Congregation Ohav Shalom

Building Community Celebrating Tradition

113 New Krumkill Road, Albany, NY 12208 / (518) 489-4706 / Email Us /

Afghani Refugees Assistance ZOOM Meetings 11/11

November 11, 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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A Note from Rabbi Ornstein  10/29/21
 
Dear Ohav Family:
 
As we move forward with our work on behalf of Afghani and other refugees moving to our area, I want to thank all of you who were at our meeting last Thursday, as well as all of you who reached out to express interest in this project. Many thanks, once again, to all of you who were deeply involved in our first round of refugee assistance work with Syrian and Afghani refugees over the last few years.
 
We have identified the following four opportunities for our Ohav family to be involved in welcoming our new neighbors and helping them to acclimate to life in the US, specifically the capital district, over the next weeks and months ahead:
 
1.  Private cash, materials and AMAZON wish list donations to our new neighbors through USCRI. See information attached at this link
 
2.  Offering medical, legal, employment, and other services to these new immigrants through your professional practice or business. (Please contact Margaret Slotnick of US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants – USCRI- for more information about this: MSlotnick@uscri-albany.org)
 
3. Participating in, organizing or contributing to future Ohav donation drives that will provide our new friends with a variety of immediately necessary winter clothes and household items as they move into their new apartments here in Albany.  
 
4. Forming an Ohav Good Neighbor Team which will support an immigrant family with different kinds of help over an extended period of time. See information attached at this link
 
We will be holding two meetings on Zoom over the next two weeks. Feel free to attend one or both meetings to find out more about helping with the drive/s and/or with the Good Neighbor Team.
 
Good Neighbor Team Meeting: Thursday night, November 11 at 7 PM:
ZOOM link  
 
Donations Drive Meeting: Thursday night, November 11 at 8 PM:
ZOOM link
 
I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings. I am proud of our Ohav family for responding so generously to this mitzvot of ahavat ha-ger, loving and welcoming the stranger, and hachnasat orkhim, showing hospitality to those in need of it.
 
Shabbat Shalom,

 

 

 

A Note from Rabbi Ornstein 10/1/21

Dear Ohav Family:   
Shanah tovah once again. On Yom Kippur eve, I spoke of the prophet Isaiah’s call to us to honor the true meaning of the Yom Kippur fast by performing acts of justice, mercy, and kindness towards those most vulnerable and in need. Applying his words to the impending immigration of Afghani refugees to our area, I said the following from the bimah: A few years ago, when Syrian and Afghani refugees were the new strangers in our midst, the Ohav family answered the call of our greater capital district community to welcome and guide them, to give them a hand in this new promised land. Today, at this very moment, the call needs to be answered again. The end of the horrible Afghan War and the ascension of the Taliban to power will bring in their wake the mass evacuation of thousands of Afghani refugees – individuals and families – to the United States under the Special Immigrant Visa program. Albany has for many years been a major center of refugee resettlement and I’ve been assured by refugee activists and professionals that our area will be seeing more Afghanis making the capital district their home.

We, the children of the prophet who commanded us to let the oppressed go free; We, the distant and recent descendants of refugees; We, whom the great Maimonides called compassionate people descended from compassionate people; We have the opportunity to answer this newest call to welcome these newest refugees into our midst, to help them to heal from their traumas, to give them the hope of a new life here in our home. In the weeks to come, I will call upon our Ohav family to come together to discuss how we might make a difference, how we, former strangers in Egypt, might lift up and support these newest strangers in our midst. I thank those of us who answered the call in the past. I look forward to those in our family who will answer it in the future.

The future is now. Governor Hochul has informed our community that our region, one of the outstanding centers for refugee resettlement, will become home to at least 100 Afghani refugees in the future. I have already heard from a number of our Ohav family members about their readiness to help with different aspects of resettlement. I look forward to our coming together to determine how we can help this newest wave of refugees seeking shelter in our country.

All the best and Shabbat shalom,