(Originally published in the Jewish Herald Voice, February 2020)
Hebrew Free Loan Association in 2020
On Wednesday January 16, 2020, the election for the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Houston Board of Trustees was completed.
The elected trustees are:
Clive Fleishman, David Gerber, Jeff Horowitz (Past President), Brigitt Isenhour, Laurence Kam, Yosef Kerzner, Reuven Linzer, Meir Mandel, Yigal Saghian & Paul Wainstein.
The Association got to work almost immediately, with the selection of a new President, Paul Wainstein. Laurence Kam maintains his position as Treasurer, while Yosef Kerzner takes the role of Secretary. As Past President, David Loev remains on the board and heads up the fundraising committee.
Board meetings were held in January, February and March, even with the coronavirus crisis, with the use of Zoom teleconferencing capabilities. HFLA held a General Members’ meeting in March. It was encouraging to see a number of new faces (over Zoom), at the Members’ meeting. A complete status update was given to members, including a financial and loans report. Every member contributed to the meeting with positive comments and suggestions.
At the General Members’ meeting, the creation of a special COVID-19 fund was discussed with the associated fundraising needs. New HFLA members offered to sit on the fundraising committee with HFLA Board members.
HFLA has already begun making loans specifically from its COVID-19 fund. At the time of writing this article, the Association has already loaned out $12,500 from the COVID-19 fund with requests for a further $18,000.
How can you help the HFLA meet its anticipated requirements for 2020?
- You can donate directly to HFLA of Houston. https://hfla.net/donate/
- You can apply to join HFLA as a member. https://hfla.net/membership/
As an organization that began in 1932 when the when Jews of Houston had no other source of funds for food, rent, medical care and other needs, the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Houston was available to provide immediate assistance in the form of a confidential, interest free loan. The Association was organized to fulfill the Biblical commandment to lend to the poor and needy as found in Devarim (Deuteronomy): in order to give them a hand up and not a hand out.
At that time of financial turmoil for both the country and the Houston Jewish community known as the Great Depression, the overwhelming need for a free loan society in Houston was met through the efforts of presidents Ben Hurwitz, Louis Rosenberg, Louis Bale, Abe Sampson and Abe Silverman. Many Jewish families were able to survive the period with the assistance from the Association.
Now it’s our turn to step up to help our own people in this time of crisis.
Please feel free to contact HFLA at any time.