Hebrew Free Loan Association to mark 110 years Nov. 15

Category: Personal Loans Published: Saturday, 11 October 2014 Written by Admin

Since 1904, the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Cleveland has provided more than 25,000 interest-free loans to individuals and families in Northeast Ohio. The organization will celebrate its success with a special Party110 celebration on Nov. 15 at Temple Emanu El in Orange. 

The organization was initially founded to help immigrants and entrepreneurs who wanted to start their own business but did not have the financial means to do so. The first loans were small business loans given to immigrants to help them purchase horses and pushcarts in order for them to sell their wares to make a living. 

 "If you go to the Torah, the highest form of tzedakah is not giving someone a gift of money, it's giving someone the ability to help themselves," said David Edelman, president of HFLA. "Giving someone an interest-free loan is considered one of the highest forms of charity."

The organization has evolved over the years. In addition to small business loans, HFLA now distributes interest-free education loans and personal loans, which can cover anything from dental expenses to an emergency car repair.

HFLA lends money interest free to responsible individuals who can demonstrate a genuine need, has been unable to obtain a loan from a conventional source, will be able to repay the loan in monthly installments and has one or more suitable co-signers.

Russian immigrant Zoya Avshalumov has seen firsthand how HFLA's loans make a difference. Her daughter Lana received an interest-free education loan in 2009 to help pay for tuition at the University of Pittsburgh. Her son, Pinkhas, received a similar loan in 2010 to attend The Ohio State University. 

"The loans made a great impact," said Zoya, who lives in Mayfield Heights and attends services at Temple Emanu El. "It's really hard to have one child in college, and with two it was very difficult. We didn't have the money to pay for college so it was a really big help."

Richard Matt and his wife Judy, who live in Mayfield Village, have received loans twice through HFLA. Richard received his first personal loan from HFLA in the early 1990s. He applied for the second loan about two-and-a-half years ago after his mother-in-law passed away. Richard said her insurance didn't cover all the expenses, and Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz in Cleveland Heights suggested he seek assistance through HFLA.

"I would heartily recommend people to use HFLA," he said. "They made life a lot easier by not having a big bill sit over your head that has to be taken care of today. They spread out the payments anywhere from 18 months to two years to pay off the loans. They're very cost-conscious and tailor what you pay back to them and the length of time to what you can afford, all with no interest."

The Party110 event will include dinner, a silent auction, jazz music and a celebration of Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial spirit. A video created just for the event will highlight personal stories of loan recipients.

"For me the video is very impactful," said Michal Marcus, program director at HFLA. "Nobody was prompted and they all spoke from their heart. You can get very caught up in your day-to-day work life and getting everything done, and it was the moment I saw the video I was able to sit back and think, wow, we really are making a difference for people."

Edelman hopes the event also will set the organization up for another 110 years of success.

"Behind every loan is a story of a good person with a genuine need who just needs a little bit of help to succeed," he said.

(Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO, of the Cleveland Jewish News is a board director of the Hebrew Free Loan Association)


WHAT: Hebrew Free Loan Association of Cleveland's Party 110

WHEN: 6:30 to 10 pm, Nov. 15

WHERE: Temple Emanu El, 4545 Brainard Road, Orange

TICKETS amp; INFO: Single tickets cost $110. Seating is limited. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit hflaclev.org/party110.

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