Hebrew Free Loan of Austin Joins Forces in $3.4M Aid Effort for Israel

February 2024

Hebrew Free Loan of Austin (HFLA) proudly announced its participation in a crucial initiative led by the International Association of Jewish Free Loans (IAJFL). Together, they are channeling a substantial $3.4 million interest-free loan to Ogen, their sister agency in Israel. This collaborative effort involves 17 member agencies of the IAJFL, uniting to provide emergency financial assistance to Israeli individuals and families in the face of ongoing challenges.

Adding to the generosity, the Board of Directors of HFLA collectively gathered over $15,000, contributing significantly towards this noble cause.

The economic upheaval in Israel, stemming from the October 7 terrorist attacks and the persistent conflict with Hamas, prompted Ogen to launch the Swords of Iron Emergency Relief Fund. This fund offers interest-free loans to tens of thousands of Israelis grappling with displacement and economic hardships.

Expressing solidarity, Rabbi David Rosenn, President & CEO of the Hebrew Free Loan Society (New York), stated, “In ordinary times, our lending is restricted to local needs, but this is no ordinary time. Thousands of Israelis need financial support to cope with the war’s economic impact. Partnering with Ogen is a natural way for IAJFL member agencies to help by providing immediate funds and showing Israelis that we care. When the loans are repaid, these funds will be recycled to help us meet needs in America.”

The nation is in a state of national emergency following the brutal October 7, 2023 attacks on innocent civilians. With more than 360,000 reservists called to active duty and small business owners, especially in the South near Gaza, unable to conduct business as usual, the economic fallout is widespread. Ogen’s Swords of Iron Emergency Relief Fund responds to this crisis by providing interest-free loans to assist those who have lost homes, livelihoods, and are living in conflict zones.

Hebrew Free Loan of Austin board member Adam Grossman had a personal incentive to support this effort and explained, “Having over 150 relatives in Israel, including 30+ on active duty in the IDF, I am very proud of HFLA for supporting OGEN. Israelis are putting their jobs and financial future on the line in order to defend Israel. It is on all of us to ensure their families are taking care of if a financial need arises.”

When Ogen launched this critical effort to aid Israelis in the aftermath of the October 7th attacks, Hebrew Free Loan of Austin’s Board of Directors eagerly joined IAJFL and its members to stand in solidarity with their sister agency. As with many Austinites, the HFLA Board has many familial connections to friends and family in Israel. The funds provided by IAJFL agencies will support interest-free emergency relief loans of up to 60,000 shekels (approximately $15,500) to individuals and families.

HFLA Board Chair Ed Hockfield added, “I cannot be prouder of our board. We felt strongly that the impact to our community because of having family and friends in Israel was such that our mission demanded action and we responded.”