Making a Life in Music: Benjie’s Story

Benjie and his wife, Lauren, with their two children.

Benjie Kushins first learned of Hebrew Free Loan when he was in middle school, longing for his first drum set. His grandfather said that if Benjie couldn’t earn the money, he would co-sign an interest-free loan for him. Benjie managed to earn enough to get his drums, so he didn’t need a Hebrew Free Loan then, but he never forgot his grandfather’s lesson: Work for what you want, and people will help make your dreams a reality.

Later, when Benjie was accepted to Berklee College of Music, he turned to Hebrew Free Loan for help with the expenses his scholarship didn’t cover. After he finished college and returned to California to start a business teaching music in the schools, Hebrew Free Loan again provided loans to start and then expand that enterprise. Art & Soul Music is now a successful venture that introduces children throughout the Bay Area to the expressive arts. Benjie is also a member of the Full Circle Club, supporting the agency financially to pay forward the help he received. Benjie reflects on what moved him to join the Full Circle Club: “It was so validating to know that Hebrew Free Loan believed in me and in the importance of music. I feel blessed to have the support of Hebrew Free Loan, and feel compelled to give back.”