Jack and Sharon arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in June of 1973 so that Jack could begin an allergy fellowship at what was then Stanford Children’s Hospital. Three months later, their son Ira was born. At 6 months, Ira was diagnosed with Canavans Disease, a fatal, degenerative neurological condition. Seeking a way to acknowledge Ira’s life and believing in the mission of the Hebrew Free Loan, Jack and Sharon began the Ira Paul Levin Testimonial Fund at Hebrew Free Loan in 1975.

“We wanted to insure that Ira’s life would have a positive meaning. Although we were unable to change the course of Ira’s life, we hoped we could help others achieve their dreams and goals,” said Jack.

The Levins have continued to make donations to the fund to honor the countless life cycle events of family and friends over the years. “The idea of giving to people so that they can become the best they can be is very important. Getting a loan and paying it back is a way of passing it along to someone else. It’s not just a handout—it’s a loan.”

In addition to personally contributing to the fund, the Levins promote the agency to people throughout the community, attend many Hebrew Free Loan Events and can always be counted on for their support. Jack and Sharon have also cosigned for four other people in the community.

“Establishing this fund has been enormously meaningful to us. The pain you feel when you realize you have a child who is never going to grow up—some of that pain was mitigated by being able to establish this fund for others. Through our fund at Hebrew Free Loan, we can keep Ira’s legacy alive.”