Why Interest Free Loans?
Are interest free loans really a thing? Do they sound too good to be true, or is it a necessity borne out of these unsettling times?
Well, interest free loans are not new. The concept is grounded in Jewish law and is one of the highest forms of tzedakah (charity). From biblical times to the present, the Hebrew people were charged with being responsible for each other. Thus, interest free loans are in the DNA of the Jewish people. Called Gemilut Chasadim (acts of lovingkindness), Gemachs for short, thrived in Eastern Europe and were among the first Jewish societies established by immigrants to the U.S.
Most societies in the U.S. were formed between 1880 and 1940, reaching a total of about 500, illustrating the continuity of this mitzvah (good deed). In addition to the exhortation in the Bible in the book of Exodus to not charge interest, one of the Mishpatim (laws) specifically described as a Notable Mitzvah, tells us a loan to prevent someone from falling into poverty is considered one of the most meritorious of deeds. “Then thou shalt strengthen him: Yea, though he be a stranger or a sojourner: that he may live with thee.” (Leviticus 25:35)
No Interest Loans as Mitzvot
The great Jewish rabbi the Rambam (Maimonides), described eight levels of tzedakah as rungs on a ladder. While all are worthy, each successive step brings the giver closer to Heaven. Level eight is when the person who helps another to become self-supporting by a gift or a loan or by finding employment for the recipient reaches the pinnacle.
Charity is not optional. It isn’t categorized as an act of altruism, generosity, or kindness (random or otherwise). It’s the law. It has endured through the centuries to sustain the Jewish people, enhance Jewish life, and strengthen the Jewish community. While people of all different backgrounds give charity, acknowledging that it is a commandment elevates the donor, the recipient, and the facilitator.
A zero interest loan respects the dignity of borrowers, helping provide them with a means of self-sufficiency without saddling them with debt. In addition, the structure of Dallas Hebrew Free Loans allows all donors to the organization to achieve the eighth level of tzedakah.
What Can Interest Free Loans Be Used For?
DHFLA loan categories cover almost any need that supports Jewish and secular life. Since the organization’s inception in 1935, categories have been added and amounts increased as times and needs have changed. The loan categories we offer are augmented by a $10,000 General loan. Our newest loan type provides up to $7,500 quickly for Jewish burials so families can bury their loved one in accordance with Jewish ritual. Money is paid directly to the funeral provider to ensure timely burial.
Other categories for interest free loans include Emergency – up to $500; Jewish Experience – up to $3,500; Special Needs – up to $7,500; Healthcare up to $10,000; Adoption and Fertility up to $20,000; Higher Education up to $3,000 per semester; Small Business up to $20,000 and Education Consolidation up to $25,000.
Preparing to Apply for a Hebrew Interest Free Loan
The DHFLA loan application process is straightforward. There are no extra fees, no hidden costs—and truly, there is no interest. As we fulfill our mission to ease financial burdens, we also want to ease the application process. Become familiar with the types of loans on our website and contact us to ask questions.
Clarify the purpose of the loan and what expenses it will cover to specify an amount. Then review your ability and plan to repay the loan based on the specific loan term. Identify people who will guarantee (cosign) the loan and complete the application.
Why Everyone Should Know About Interest Free Loans
When unexpected situations—or even expected situations—require cash, DHFLA can help. We can be there with funds; we even did so after our office was hit by a tornado! Whether your home has had a fire or flood and needs repairs, your health insurance is not covering necessary medical treatment, you want to reduce high interest credit card debt, travel to Israel, prepare to adopt or undergo fertility treatments, and more, DHFLA can provide a hand-up.
Ways You Can Be Part of Dynamic Giving and Perform the Highest Form of Tzedakah
REFER someone who can benefit from interest free loans to DHFLA.
DONATE to the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association. Your contribution never stops giving. Money lent out is repaid and the funds are lent out again. Forever. Your support allows our loan program to grow, enhancing and sustaining Jewish life in our community.
GUARANTEE a loan. Anonymous Angel Guarantors enable DHFLA to make loans to qualified applicants who only have one guarantor.
SPREAD THE WORD by sharing our mission in the community.