Making interest free loans to Jewish people in need is a biblically commanded act of chesed (loving kindness) that is alive and well in Atlanta. Since 2010, Jewish Interest Free Loan of Atlanta (JIFLA) has made interest free loans to help Jews cope with challenging times and unexpected expenses. JIFLA recently made their 100th loan to an Atlanta Jewish couple experiencing medical infertility and unable to afford the full cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF). “The borrower came to us through a coordinated application developed between JIFLA and Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF), a new nonprofit in Atlanta,” says Nancy Weissman, JIFLA’s Executive Director. “Our finance committees worked together closely to review this couple’s situation and make the loan happen. It feels wonderful to use tzedakah to help build a Jewish family in this special way.” Elana Frank, JFF’s Executive Director, reports that the couple is now in treatment and hoping for a good outcome.
In the Jewish community, where family is central and having children is considered vital to continuity, infertility is a uniquely painful experience. Jewish Fertility Foundation, who provides education and support to couples experiencing infertility, documents that 1 in 6 Jewish couples experience the problem. With the average cost of IVF treatment in Atlanta at $23,000, a JIFLA loan of $3,500-$5,000 can make a big difference. JIFLA accepts loan applications directly through its website (see eligibility criteria here), but increasingly the agency chooses to partner with Jewish agencies who make them aware of individuals with critical financial needs. JIFLA approved 22 loans in 2017, and expects to increase its capacity in 2018.
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