Tikkun Olam, Morris Oiring: Jewish business mogul and founder of Albany’s newest kosher hotel

  (photo credit: Brian “Flow” Saadeh)
(photo credit: Brian “Flow” Saadeh)

In Jewish teachings, there is a profound concept known as Tikkun Olam, Tikkun Olam teaches the responsibility to engage in activities that improve the world and bring it closer to its intended state of harmony. This principle suggests that while the world is inherently good, there is room for human beings to play an active role in repairing and enhancing it. Tikkun Olam highlights the belief that all individuals, regardless of their age, occupation, or background, have the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of society.

The term "Tikkun" derives from Hebrew and is often translated as repair. However, its meaning extends beyond simple fixing. In the Hebrew Bible and the Mishnah, the early code of Jewish law, "Tikkun" is employed in various contexts, such as improving, fixing, preparing, setting up, or "doing something with." This broad understanding of "Tikkun" underscores its applicability to all aspects of life. The term "Olam" in Biblical Hebrew originally referred to, "all of time." However, in later Hebrew, it came to denote the world. Thus, "Tikkun Olam" can be interpreted as the imperative to engage with the world, not only to repair any damage but also to actively improve upon it. This broader perspective emphasizes that Tikkun Olam is not limited to one's immediate surroundings but extends to the entirety of our shared global community.

Tikkun Olam encompasses the idea that all human activities can serve as opportunities to fulfill this mission. It transcends specific roles and professions, recognizing that everyone, irrespective of their position in society, can make a meaningful contribution. Whether one is a child or an adult, a student or an entrepreneur, an industrialist or an artist, a caregiver or a salesperson, a political activist or an environmentalist, or simply an individual navigating the challenges of everyday life, everyone can participate in Tikkun Olam. 

Morris Oiring, founder of the Oiring Group and long-time CEO of PLEET HOMECARE, has been committed to the concept of Tikkun Olam his entire life. As an observant Jew and an innovative CEO in healthcare, Oiring is on a mission to leave the world in a better place through his personal and professional endeavors. Recently, Oiring made the jump in top hospitality by purchasing the Holiday Inn Express at 300 Broadway in Albany and transforming it into the most comprehensive kosher hotel in New York’s capital city. 

While the availability of kosher hotels in New England and New York state is relatively limited, primarily concentrated in Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains, now, Albany joins this list. Oiring’s hotel is set to open a year-round kosher restaurant that is believed to be the only one between the lower Hudson Valley and Montreal.

Credit: Brian “Flow” Saadeh
Credit: Brian “Flow” Saadeh

After purchasing the 135-room hotel at an auction in January, following its closure during the pandemic, Oiring invested $2.5 million in renovations, including the addition of a pool. The hotel is now open, offering a kosher breakfast buffet, with plans to expand the menu to include a-la-carte options. The dairy fare is produced in a separate kitchen, ensuring kosher standards are met. While the hotel caters to kosher guests, non-kosher food can be enjoyed in the common areas or the hotel rooms. The breakfast nook area remains dedicated to kosher dining, however. Oiring envisions offering Israeli-style breakfasts, known for their generous portions and variety, similar to those found in hotels in Israel. The kosher supervision is currently provided by the Vaad HaKashruth of the Capital District, led by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Bomzer, with food sourced from 518kosher. However, the hotel is transitioning to be under Satmar kosher supervision.

Beyond the dining experience, Oiring has plans to further enhance the hotel. A renovation of the common areas on the first floor is underway, with a focus on curating a luxurious and inviting atmosphere for guests. Oiring also aims to obtain a liquor license to introduce a bar on the premises, giving guests an enjoyable space to celebrate and host events. This would also help invigorate the local economy as the bar and events would employ residents of the city.

Looking to the future, Oiring envisions the creation of a Holocaust Museum in downtown Albany. Collaborating with Rabbi Sholom Friedmann, director of the Amud Aish Memorial Museum in Brooklyn, this initiative aims to educate visitors about the historical significance of the Holocaust.

With the opening of this new kosher hotel, Albany has expanded its offerings for kosher travelers and locals seeking a unique dining experience. Morris Oiring's dedication to providing quality accommodations and embracing his Jewish heritage through this venture marks an exciting development for the city's hospitality industry. By increasing access to kosher food and Shabbat-safe hotel rooms as well as by providing new jobs for Albany’s economy, Oiring’s new hotel is a perfect example of how Jewish entrepreneurs and investors can universalize the concept of Tikkun Olam while helping their community.

This article was written in cooperation with NBS