(Published in the Jewish Herald Voice, 4/14/2020)
According to the great 12th Century Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides), there are eight degrees of charity, each one higher than the other. The highest degree is to aid a Jew in need by offering him a gift or a loan, by entering into partnership with him, or by providing work for him, so that he may become self-supporting, without having to ask people for anything.
A loan allows the recipient to maintain his dignity. A loan has psychological benefits over a hand out. The mission of the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Houston is to provide a source of funds to Jews in the Houston community in the form of a confidential interest free loan.
We all know that the corona-virus is wreaking havoc on everyone. Stores are closed, employees are furloughed or even fired and social distance is the byword. There are many Jews in our community, who need or will need additional help during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is where HFLA has played, and continues to play a vital role by making interest free loans with no fees to our community since 1932, successfully fulfilling the mitzvah.
HFLA stood tall after hurricane Harvey making hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans to Jews in the community. Now with the pandemic, it anticipates doing the same, with a specially established Covid-19 fund.
The Association can only continue to successfully do so with your donations.
For many Jews in our community, the virus has created the need for a bridge, a loan made confidentially and quickly, to carry that person over the precipice in order to pay rent or mortgage payments, for business expenses, living expenses, and other urgent financial needs.
This is why HFLA has started a Covid-19 fundraising campaign. Jews in our community are making many more requests for loans. HFLA expects many more similar requests. The need and demand for loans is upon us.
HFLA asks that you help us perform the mitzvah and donate when asked, or go online to donate at: https://hfla.net/donate/