When Leandro Margulis stopped at a vista point in the Marin Headlands so his friends from abroad could admire the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, he didn’t know he was about to meet his future spouse. Neither did Gorica, who had just stopped at the same vista point to show the view to her friends from abroad. Both groups included people from Turkey, who started talking to each other, and soon everyone was chatting.

Leandro was immediately taken with Gorica, whose heritage is Serbian Bosnian. Since he had once spent a few months in Serbia for work, he tried to impress her by saying every Serbian word he knew, including the Serbian for “no pork.” Their first date followed a couple of weeks later. Leandro (who grew up in Buenos Aires) made sure to bring along a Serbian-English Dictionary. Gorica brought a bottle of wine from a recent excursion to Napa Valley, and the rest is history.

Gorica and Leandro got married in 2016 and knew they wanted to start a family, but it didn’t happen right away. When the pandemic hit, Gorica got involved as a volunteer helping to set up the first Covid testing lab in California. This opportunity was incredibly rewarding, and Gorica felt privileged to play a role in helping to protect public health during the pandemic. But it was also very demanding, especially on top of her full-time job managing a lab for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. After a few years, Gorica and Leandro were ready to prioritize starting their family, and Gorica decided to leave her job. That’s when the couple turned to Hebrew Free Loan for assistance.

They originally thought they would need a Fertility loan from us to help cover the cost of fertility treatments. As things turned out, once Gorica stopped working and their lives became more balanced, they got pregnant without intervention. They received an interest-free General Needs loan instead, so they could manage on one salary while Gorica focused on the family.

“Our interest-free loan from Hebrew Free Loan gave us peace of mind at an emotionally taxing time. It allowed us to conceive our beautiful baby girl naturally instead of worrying about making ends meet.”

Leandro and Gorica’s adorable daughter Sofia is now four months old, and both parents are head over heels in love. Gorica will go back to work eventually, and they may try to have a second child down the line. For now, they’re happy and grateful to finally have created the family they wanted for many years.

Leandro is an entrepreneur at heart, with an MBA from Yale, and when he’s not enjoying his daughter he’s busy working in business and product development for a wide range of startups. That’s how he first connected with Hebrew Free Loan, when he received an interest-free Business loan to build a recruiting platform that let job seekers use anonymous profiles (so their current employers wouldn’t see they were searching). While that venture didn’t work out, Leandro finds everything he learned in the process useful in his current work with other startups in varying stages of growth.

Receiving support from Hebrew Free Loan deepened Leandro’s already strong connections to the Bay Area Jewish community. He grew up in Buenos Aires, which has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, and attended Jewish schools and social clubs his whole life. Leandro appreciates the ways that Hebrew Free Loan fosters entrepreneurship in the local Jewish community, and he values the relationships he’s built through his connection to Hebrew Free Loan. Since getting his first loan he’s also joined our Full Circle Club — former loan recipients who pay forward the help they received by becoming supporters of the agency. He’s glad to be doing his part to strengthen the community and looks forward to even greater involvement in the years to come.

Read More Borrower Stories