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“If not for Hebrew Free Loan, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my dream of becoming a rabbi,” Misha Clebaner says. Misha graduated in June from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston, and is about to join the clergy at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney, Australia.

Misha and his wife, Anabelle Harari, are grateful to be starting this chapter of their life with a minimum of student loan debt. “It took six years to get ordained, and I was still paying off my college loans when I started. Taking on more interest-bearing loans didn’t seem like a smart choice. Hebrew Free Loan helped me think carefully about how much debt I could handle.”

Misha’s dream of becoming a rabbi grew out of his experience emigrating from the former Soviet Union as a child in the early ‘90s. “I hadn’t known my religious heritage before, but when we got here, I discovered a connection to my roots and a desire to connect with something greater than myself.”

One of Misha’s goals is to help interpret the teachings of Judaism in a way that’s relevant to contemporary life. “The Talmud says that every community needs a synagogue and a mikvah (ritual bath),” Misha says. “I think we also need a library, a café, and a Hebrew Free Loan!”

“I look forward to spreading the word about Hebrew Free Loan throughout the Jewish community. I’m especially excited for the time when I will have paid off my loans and can contribute to support the organization.”

You can follow Misha’s blog at https://www.mishaclebaner.com. His podcast, Raising Holy Sparks, can be found on all major platforms. You can find Anabelle at https://wellspringnutrition.co and follow her on Instagram at @wellspringnutrition.