Congregation Ohav Shalom was one of three local entities honored by the Capital Region Refugee Roundtable on June 20, 2016, World Refugee Day, in recognition of its dedication of time, resources, and programs to refugees who have resettled in the Capital Region. Along with the English as a New Language Department within the City School District of Albany and the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, Congregation Ohav Shalom was recognized for its commitment to welcoming and assisting newcomers and resettled refugees in such areas as health and wellness, education, employment, child welfare, and the arts. The ceremony took place at Albany City Hall.
Ohav’s Welcoming the Stranger initiative began in February, 2016 in response to the impending arrival of new refugees from Afghanistan and the need to ease their adjustment to a new life in Albany. Initially, Ohav volunteers assisted with cleaning and furnishing four apartments for the newcomers. Then, a cadre of Ohav members stepped up to provide ongoing support with shopping, mentoring, volunteering at the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) and driving family members to health care appointments. Congregation Ohav Shalom continues to partner with USCRI in this resettlement effort.
Congregation Ohav Shalom, led by Rabbi Daniel Ornstein and Rabbi Rena Kieval, is a Conservative/Egalitarian Synagogue affiliated with The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.