A Passover Partnership- How Hebrew Free Loan of Austin Partnered with Congregation Agudas Achim to Benefit the Larger Austin Jewish Community

By Craig Gilden | April 2021

Effective partnership is key in meeting HFLA’s mission of supporting those in need in the Austin Jewish community with short-term financial help. This month, HFLA is proud to highlight its recent collaboration with Congregation Agudas Achim (CAA).

When members of CAA went to order Kosher for Passover catered meals from the CAA kitchen prior to Passover, they were given two additional options. One option was to include the code “HFLA” with their order and request to receive financial assistance through HFLA. The second option was to increase their payment for the meals with the extra proceeds going as a donation towards HFLA. This collaboration ended up with both donations going towards supporting HFLA as well as members of the CAA community receiving financial assistance.

CAA Rabbi Neil Blumofe sees the partnership as one way of fulfilling the values of the holiday. “Passover is a time when we announce, ‘all who are hungry, come and eat.’ Partnering with HFLA on Passover amplifies this message, and announces that these are not just words to be read in a Haggadah around a table at seder — but rather, they are to be lived, inspiring us to devote our lives to the well-being and security of our Jewish community.”

The collaboration was born through conversations between HFLA and CAA staff and clergy. In wanting to provide as intentional of support as possible, Blumofe and Director of Catering and Events Jennifer Rubin came up with a way for CAA members to both give and receive assistance to HFLA while ordering their Kosher for Passover meals. HFLA and CAA staff then worked together to create a system and process for marking the donations and assistance requests. Working together to implement a process that made sense for both organizations was crucial in making the initiative come to life.

“Helping HFLA fulfill its mission in offering loans to help people become self-sufficient is an important Jewish value — a mitzvah mentioned in the Book of Exodus,” said Blumofe. “For CAA, connecting people and supporting them in times of need — both with resources and spiritually — is vital for the community that we create. Working with HFLA gives us the opportunity to scale this sacred work. As we uplift the message of HFLA every year during Shabbat Mishpatim, we continue to explore ways to build bridges, alliances, and support for the ways that we mutually seek to strengthen and grow a responsive, holy community.”

During our seders’ last week we all spoke the words, “all who are hungry come and eat.” Jewish scholars debate the intention and meaning of the line – Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol. In the 9th century leading rabbinic authority, Rav Matityahu Gaon, gave this interpretation of the line and its connection to Passover, “feed the poor in advance, so they won’t have to beg on Passover itself.” (My Jewish Learning) This interpretation resonates with HFLA and its mission.

HFLA is proud to partner with Jewish organizations across Central Texas to further its mission and enhance its support of those in need of a hand up. It looks forward to continued and new partnerships that further its goal and help support more of the Jewish community.