What is a Hebrew Free Loan Society?
Hebrew Free Loan Societies are based on the Biblical injunction “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act towards them as a creditor; exact no interest from them.” (Exodus 22:24) Jewish communities throughout history have included these organizations as one of the pillars of communal life. Today, dozens of Hebrew Free Loans exist throughout the world. Some offer help for many situations, while others exist to address specific needs, such as weddings, new babies, or education. Many Hebrew Free Loans, including ours, are members of the International Association of Jewish Free Loans.
History of Hebrew Free Loan Society of Greater Philadelphia
Our Society was founded in 1984, through the efforts of Rabbi Aaron Landes z”l, and the generosity of Leonard and Madlyn Abramson. Originally named Hebrew Free Loan Society at Beth Sholom, to reflect its roots, as well as Beth Sholom’s kindness in providing meeting and file space, the name was changed in 2005 to reflect our service to the broader Philadelphia area.
Bernard and Marie Granor agreed to spearhead the original effort and Bernard served as President of the Society for more than 20 years. Since our founding, we have made more than 2,000 loans totaling over $3 million for such things as bringing family members to the United States, dental work, car repairs, tuition and books, rent or mortgage payments and much, much more.
We are operated by a volunteer board of directors. Our executive director is Cheryl Barish Erlick.