Your IAJFL Newsletter

November 21, 2016
20 Cheshvan 5777
Issue No. 2

IFLA in Jerusalem

by Tina Sheinbein
IAJFL President/Executive Director, Jewish Free Loan, Phoenix


Recently, I was in Israel and had an opportunity to meet with Sagi Balasha, CEO of the Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA). Sagi joined IFLA only a few months ago and we welcome him to the IAJFL family.  Everyone can look forward to meeting Sagi at the 2017 IAJFL Annual Conference in San Francisco. If you should visit Israel and would like to meet with Sagi and learn more about the IFLA operations, please let me know and I can help connect you with IFLA.

Above: Tina in Jerusalem with Sagi Balasha, CEO of the Israel Free Loan Association.

2016 Conference Recap

by Natalie Shy  

IAJFL Secretary & Administrator/Loan Manager, JFLA, Los Angeles 


This year, IAJFL’s 34th annual conference was hosted by the Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) in Los Angeles, California.  More than 45 participants attended the conference, representing over 25 different free loan agencies!  This year’s theme of the conference was Mishpatim & Beyond: Jewish Free Lending for 2016.  The conference gave attendees tools and techniques to build communities’ programs and to make existing programs stronger.  It also provided both a formal and informal networking opportunity for agencies while motivating the participants to feel good about what they do and why they are doing it. Everyone who attended the conference came away inspired, energized, and able to apply the knowledge shared and gained to the advantage of their respective agencies.   Some topics discussed at the conference, in large group and smaller peer group sessions, included marketing, payday lending and the proliferation of short term, high interest lending services, skill building, financial resource development, evaluating the impact of free loan agencies, and reviewing agencies' city reports.  In addition to learning, conference attendees had the opportunity to experience a true taste of Los Angeles.  The group went to the Hollywood Bowl for a picnic dinner and ELO concert concluding with a spectacular firework show to end the summer season.  A HUGE thank you to the conference planning committee and everyone at Jewish Free Loan Association for a job well done in Los Angeles! 

Above: Photos from the IAJFL 2016 conference in Los Angeles including David Levy, Executive Director of JFLA, welcoming everyone; and the Hollywood Bowl where conference attendees were treated to dinner and a fantastic ELO concert!

IAJFL Agencies in Canada

by Mannie Druker 

IAJFL Treasurer/Board Member, Hebrew Free Loan Association of Vancouver

Canada has been involved in the IAJFL since the beginning, with Vancouver joining in the early 1980's. Vancouver was followed by Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal.
Ottawa joined a few years ago, and this year Edmonton became the seventh Canadian city to join the IAJFL.
We are hopeful that an HFLA will be re-established in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the coming year. If so, this will give Canada Free Loan coverage from coast to coast for the first time in many decades! Except for Edmonton and Toronto, the other  Canadian HFLA's are independent of Federation for funding.
The Canadian HFLA's have a quarterly conference call to discuss matters of mutual interest. We are hoping for a record Canadian attendance at the next IAJFL Conference in San Francisco in October 2017.

Growth and Development Committee Highlights

by David Contorer
IAJFL VP/Executive Director, Hebrew Free Loan, Detroit

IAJFL’s Growth and Development Committee is comprised of many free-loan professionals and lay leaders from across North America.  Outreach and mentorship activities have grown immensely over the last year.  Our focus continues to be to provide value-added, customized mentorship to self-identifying free-loan programs that we match up with veteran ‘coaches’ from our mishpuchah of leaders.  I want to send my special thanks to Caron Blau Rothstein, who has already been a terrific mentor to several Jewish community leaders across North America, following the 2016 launch of the Jewish Free Loan of Greater Portland:
“It’s been an honor to have the opportunity to “pay it forward” and talk with other communities exploring Jewish Free Loan so soon after launching our own here in Portland. The collegiality and support I’ve received has been priceless in our establishment, so it’s quite easy for me to want to do this for others considering joining our free loan community. 3 cheers for Team IAJFL!”
~ Caron Blau Rothstein, Community Engagement Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland

Our customized mentorship has expanded to include Tucson, Toronto, New York, Ottawa, San Diego, Seattle, and other communities.  We are reaching out to these and other IAJFL members around the world in an ongoing way, hoping to share and enhance our best practices globally.  The Jewish Free Loan of Greater Phoenix has been working closely with the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Tucson:   
"Phoenix’s mentorship has been invaluable…Valuable beyond estimation: priceless.  Tina and her team have been an endless resource which has given me the opportunity to focus on goals without the normal bumps in my journey.  Dropbox has provided me the IAJFL’s sharing of best practices which allows me more time since I do not have to “re-invent the wheel.”
 ~ Cindy Goritz, Executive Director, Hebrew Free Loan Association of Tucson

The other key mission for Growth and Development is to provide “paint by numbers” assistance to Jewish communities that are launching new free-loan programs.  IAJFL is working with several communities, to start new free-loan agencies, as well as to reinvigorate existing programs, and we hope to have them join as new IAJFL member agencies in the next year.
We are excited to expand our IAJFL family to include more international members, and it was a pleasure meeting Doron Abromovici (from Melbourne, Australia) at our September conference: 
"For Empower Jewish Care Interest Free Loans, the IAJFL conference was valuable, informative and encouraged engagement between agencies.  The international ranking is a great way to showcase successes amongst counterpart agencies where these strengths can be shared. I look forward to working with my IAJFL peers throughout the year and keeping up the tradition of providing individuals, families and communities with financial independence." 
~ Doron Abromovici, Team Leader—Financial Services, Jewish Care (Victoria, Inc), Melbourne, Australia

In November, 2016, I had the privilege of attending the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, solely to encourage 7 or 8 new free-loan programs to launch and several existing ones to be re-energized with mentorship and connection to IAJFL’s sharing of best practices.  This included contact with leaders from across the U.S., Canada and from the Joint Distribution Committee’s European experts, to partner with their intelligence for global Jewish communities whom we hope will join our free-loan family to help others in need.
Above: David met with Debby Barton Grant, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Federation, and others from the Indianapolis delegation at the Jewish Federation's General Assembly this month in Washington DC.

IAJFL Small Agencies Group

by Ellen Sacks
Associate Executive Director, Jewish Free Loan, Phoenix
& Laura Zausmer Richardson       
Executive Director, Hebrew Free Loan of San Antonio

The 2016-2017 Small Agency Group (SAG) sessions kicked-off last month at the IAJFL Annual Conference in Los Angeles.  Many of the Free Loans’ Small Agency representatives came together, both in-person and via conference call, and we had important discussions about best practices, organizational challenges and the future of the SAG.  We look forward to exploring several of the ideas and suggestions that were addressed, including the addition of agenda-free networking/brainstorming calls, varying call times, as well as the possibility of volunteer-led affinity groups.  Stay tuned for more information on incorporating new concepts into the SAG offerings!  In the interim, please plan on joining us for the previously agreed upon, upcoming SAG calls listed below.  We look forward to co-chairing this year’s Small Agency Group, with all members actively involved to ensure meaningful and beneficial sessions.

To be added to the email list for the SAG conference calls please contact Natalie Shy at

Upcoming 2016-2017 SAG Calls:
December 7, 2016 @ 10am PST
"Expanding Staff & Board" – Who, What, When, Where & How?
March 1, 2017 @10am PST
“Capital Campaigns” – Fundraising for Loan Programs and Beyond
June 7, 2017 @ 10am PST
"Quantity vs Quality" – How to Best Present our Message, Using Stories and Data


* IFLA in Jerusalem
* 2016 Conference Recap
* IAJFL Agencies in Canada
* Growth & Development
* Small Agencies Group
Dallas Hebrew Free Loan's
New Video!

Shared Resource

Established last year for sharing documents between IAJFL agencies, the IAJFL Dropbox account serves as a central repository for all types of written communication. We’ve formally invited close to 200 people affiliated with an IAJFL member agency to view and/or add material. We’re thrilled to see that several agencies have added their own documents to folders such as Marketing Materials, Loan Applications, Loan Policies, and Bylaws. Instead of drafting something from scratch, take a look at versions being used in other communities. Our annual City Reports spreadsheets have also been uploaded for easy reference.
The Dropbox account is intended to be dynamic; please let us know if you have suggestions for additional types of materials which might be helpful to upload.
If you haven’t already visited the site, please check it out. If you need an invitation or assistance logging on, please contact Natalie Shy at

IAJFL Dropbox

Looking for an example document from another member agency?  Have something to share?  IAJFL shared documents are in the Dropbox. Contact for more information.

Conference Calls

Everyone is invited to join the Small Agencies Group (SAG) conference calls.
Dec. 7, 2016 @ 10am PST
"Expanding Staff & Board" Who, What, When, Where & How?
March 1, 2017 @ 10am PST
“Capital Campaigns” Fundraising for Loan Programs and Beyond
June 7, 2017 @ 10am PST
"Quantity vs. Quality" How to Best Present our Message, Using Stories and Data

BENEFITS of IAJFL Membership

  • Professionals and lay leaders provide support and membership
  • Annual conference offers networking, idea-sharing, and learning opportunities
  • Monthly conference calls provide ongoing education and peer support
  • Sharing of marketing materials, document templates and other best practices
  • Collaboration with other national and international organizations such as JFNA, AJFCA and Hillel International


By the Numbers


member agencies

agencies founded over 100 years ago

in combined assets

loaned since 1982

875,000 borrowers

repayment rate

UPCOMING Member Agency Events

Click the listings below to see more about these upcoming events ...

Silicon Valley Gives Day (similar to Giving Tuesday)

Email your event flyers, invitations, etc. to to share about your upcoming events in a future IAJFL newsletter.

IAJFL Newsletter Editor:
Ginny Gendelman, Executive Director, Milwaukee Jewish Free Loan Association
Copyright © 2016 International Association of Jewish Free Loans, All rights reserved.

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