Some uplifting stories from this past week. Be inspired…
First, I wanted to share an article on how the Jewish community is using an old tradition to assist different members of its community in dealing with the Great Recession. This is a prime example of how good people can make differences, small and large in people’s lives. It’s called a gemach, a no interest, no shame loan program to help people through tough times
First, as a matter of religious teaching and longstanding custom, a gemach makes no profit on its loans. Second, the tradition of confidentiality, rooted in Judaic commentaries about giving and receiving charity, allows a supplicant to save face…
…In suburban Atlanta, Rabbi Minkowicz had similar thoughts in mind last August, when a congregant approached him with an idealistic but unformed proposal. The man had seen the toll that corporate layoffs and the cratered housing market had taken on the local Jewish community. He and his wife, both professionals in public-sector jobs, had saved $5,000 to do something about it. Their question was what.
At that point, Rabbi Minkowicz explained about gemach, a word the donor had never heard. What impressed the man immediately, in this era of celebrity charities and naming rights, was the quality of humility. A borrower would not be subjected to a credit check or required to put up collateral, only to have another member of the Jewish community co-sign. The donor could remain unknown.
They’ve made some loans for $1000, each of which are being paid back and plan to use the funds that have been returned to provide additional loans in the future.
Second, check out this video as Occupy Our Homes joins local community groups to reclaim a bank-owned property for a homeless family joins local community groups to reclaim a bank-owned property for a homeless family.
Great stuff all around!