The International Association of Jewish Free Loans and 17 member agencies in the U.S. have provided over $3.3 million in an interest-free loan for emergency financial assistance to Israeli individuals and families.
The Tucson Jewish Free Loan raised funds to contribute $36,000 to the effort, says Allison Wexler, executive director of the local agency.
Since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, wounding thousands of others, and taking more than 240 hostages, Israel has been in a state of emergency. The war against Hamas has thrown Israel’s economy into turmoil, with more than 360,000 reservists called to active duty, away from their jobs and families. Small business owners across the country, especially in the south near Gaza, are unable to conduct business as usual.
Ogen, a nonprofit social lending enterprise in Israel, has launched a Swords of Iron Emergency Relief Fund in response. Ogen is providing interest-free loans to assist tens of thousands of Israelis who are having difficulty meeting their basic needs. Loans are supporting those who:
- Lost their possessions or their homes in the terrorist attacks
- Lost their sources of income due to the attacks or the subsequent impacts of war
- Are living in conflict zones
“Normally, Tucson Jewish Free Loan restricts its loans to residents of Pima, Cochise, and Santa Cruz counties. However, these are not normal times,” Wexler says. “With the help of a matching donor, we were able to send $36K to ordinary Israelis of all faiths experiencing acute, immediate hardship. But the beautiful thing about Jewish Free Loans is that those dollars will come back to Tucson in three to five years to serve our local community.”
Wexler notes that the Jewish Free Loan in Phoenix also contributed $36,000 to the effort.
“I’m incredibly proud of the way that IAJFL and its member agencies are supporting Israelis in this time of crisis,” says Tim Grossman, IAJFL president and treasurer of the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Antonio. “We’re all one Jewish community, and the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel were attacks on all of us. Partnering with Ogen on this emergency relief effort is a meaningful way for the free loan community to help civilians in Israel right now.”
“This extraordinary support from our IAJFL sister agencies in the U.S. is heartwarming and extremely valuable. Ogen has been overwhelmed with demand since we launched our emergency campaign on Oct. 23,” says Eldan Kaye, Ogen’s vice president of development and partnerships.
Kaye says the $3.3 million interest-free loan from IAJFL agencies “will make a huge difference enabling us to continue to meet the demand of so many Israelis who have suffered since the brutal attack on Oct. 7.”
“It means a tremendous amount to Ogen to know that we’re all in this together and the international free loan community has our back,” he says.