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Not many people have lived through what Tamara has. After surviving the Holocaust and losing many family members, she suffered through years of religious persecution in Russia.

Tamara and her husband eventually emigrated to the United States. They came to New York empty-handed and the New York Hebrew Free Loan chapter helped them buy furniture and basic necessities. Years later, Tamara needed eye surgery that insurance wouldn’t cover. Again, Hebrew Free Loan was there to help. Each time, Tamara was able to pay back her loans, thanks to the zero-interest and low monthly payments.

When Tamara’s first grandson was to become a bar mitzvah in Israel, it was her dream to attend. Growing up in anti-Semitic Russia, she was not allowed to openly practice Judaism. In fact, she grew up knowing nothing of her religious heritage or practice. This would be her first time in Israel and her first time to witness a bar mitzvah in her own family.

By now a retired widow, Tamara didn’t have the money to purchase an airline ticket. Her son and daughter-in-law were willing to help but they couldn’t offer much. She could ask friends for help, but each could only give a few hundred dollars – and she’d have to pay it all back right away.

Remembering how helpful Hebrew Free Loan had been in the past, Tamara approached them again. They were able to give her a loan that she could pay back, even on her limited social security income. “All my life I suffered anti-Semitism. What a dream to be proudly Jewish and visit Israel with my family,” Tamara said.

“The kind of help Hebrew Free Loan offers can’t be overstated,“ Tamara said. “When I saw my grandson become a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, what can I say? This is true happiness. Hebrew Free Loan helped me get here.”