About the Albany Jewish Community
Quick Guide for Students, Families and Visitors
Albany NY and the Capital Region Communities: Albany is the hub of the Jewish and general communities in New York's Capital Region, which also includes Troy (5 miles east), Schenectady (5 miles west) and Saratoga Springs (30 miles north). Albany's suburbs include Delmar and Slingerlands, Guilderland (home to Shabbos House), Colonie and Latham. The 87 and 90 interstate highways meet and run through these communities.
Nearby Colleges and Universities: It is quite a "college town". A few miles toward downtown Albany is the University Heights neighborhood, home to Albany Medical School, Albany Law School and the Albany College of Pharmacy. That neighborhood is close to Shomray Torah (aka The Shteeble). Troy is home to RPI Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute (whose alumni hold a record number of patents) and the Russell Sage Colleges. Union College is another private University in Schenectady and Skidmore College is up in Saratoga Springs. Saratoga is also home to Empire State College, a SUNY long-distance learning program.
United Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY has a listing of synagogues, schools and organizations. Visit their website at www.JewishFedNY.org or their offices on Washington Ave - west of Campus, past Crossgates Mall on the campus of Daughters of Sarah Senior Community.
Capital Region Chabad Centers: www.CapitalChabad.com has a complete listing of centers in Albany, Troy, Colonie, Delmar, Clifton Park and Saratoga, as well as Friendship Circle (special needs volunteering) Bat-Mitzvah Club and Camp Gan Israel. The Shabbos House Student Center is one of the Capital Region Chabad Centers. Chabad was founded in the Capital Region by Rabbi & Mrs. Israel Rubin (Rabbi Mendel's parents) in 1974 with the vision and inspiration of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and has grown to numerous centers with many activities since then.
Daily Minyan: UAlbany has Minyan on Shabbos and Holidays, and a number of Sunday mornings, but if you need/want a daily morning Minyan you can drive down to Beth Abraham-Jacob - 8am Shachris, Mincha & Maariv at the Zman - 380 Whitehall Road, corner Manning Blvd 12208, or a bit closer at Shomray Torah (aka The Shteeble) 8am Shachris everyday at 463 New Scotland 12208, 2 blocks east of St Peters Hospital.
Local Hebrew Day Schools: Maimonides Hebrew Day School (Orthodox) www.maimonidesschool.org (where Rabbi Mendel teaches and the Rubin Kids study) and Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy (Solomon Shechter Conservative) www.HACD.org Many synagogues have Hebrew/Religious schools where some students get Sunday jobs as teachers. See the federation website for a full synagogue listing.
Kosher Shopping: Many supermarket items (locally at Price Chopper and Hannaford) carry Kosher symbols but for the largest Kosher selection, and a full-service Kosher Department (including a Kosher Deli counter and a Kosher Bakery) the only place is Price Chopper Colonie 1892 Central Ave (Route 5) - just past Route 155. Phone: (518) 456-2970. If you're in town on business - they also do sandwiches and platters to go, plus they have plenty of frozen meals to heat up in a microwave. For more information on local Kosher contact the Vaad HaKashruth of the Capital District at (518) 489-1530, Rabbi Moshe Bomzer is the certifying Rabbi.
Kosher Dining: While in past years Chabad operated a Kosher Pizza and Felafel on Washington Avenue, and following that there was a Goldberg's Bagel Shop near the Thruway - for now the only place to eat out Kosher in Albany are the Kosher Dining establishments at UAlbany (Dutch Kosher Dining and Dreidels Cafe in the Campus Center). Both campus eateries are supervised by the Vaad HaKashruth of the Capital District (518) 489-1530. There are also seasonal Sat Night Israel Cafes at JERNYs Israel Center (Chalav Yisrael) and Pizza Nights at Maimonides School (453-9363) (Chalav Yisrael) and at Beth Abraham-Jacob Bingo Nights (non-Chalav-Yisrael).
Ritual Religious Items: Rabbi Mendel Serebryanski (518-459-0011) is a local Sofer-Scribe and runs Chabad's Mitzvah Center. In addition to writing Torahs and checking Tefillin and Mezuzot, he carries a line of Judaica and ritual objects especially around the holiday season, and also sells Tefillin, Mezuzot, Tziztit etc. There is also the well-stocked Hadar gift shop at Temple Israel with beautiful art and Judaica pieces, or at other synagogue gift-shops.
Stuff to Do, Places to Go? Students manage to find things to do. Visitors don't have as easy a time, especially since the region is host to many hidden treasures most don't know about. Weather plays a big role in outdoor activities, as winter-time upstate NY creates both opportunities and obstacles. See this PDF listing by Rabbi Mendel for family-friendly and wallet-friendly outings. Places 2 Go, Things 2 Do in the Capital-Saratoga Region
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