NEW YORK (Aug. 21)
Torah Umesorah, the national society for Hebrew day schools, met an unprecedented total of requests for loans this year from its member schools, Rabbi Bernard Goldenberg, director of organization for Torah Umesorah, reported today. Thirty-four schools in nine states availed themselves of the loans, he said.
Originally, $250,000 in loans were requested, but due to lack of funds, Torah Umesorah could only make $150,000 in loans available, according to Rabbi Goldenberg. Loans ranged in size from $500 to $8000, with $2000 being the average figure. The loans were made possible by monies from two foundations and two individuals, Rabbi Goldenberg said. All money must be repaid by the schools within a one-to-two year period and no interest is charged. Some loans are now in the process of being repaid, Rabbi Goldenberg explained. “We like to have our money always recirculating,” he said.
Rabbi Goldenberg said that about 85 percent of the money through loans would go towards meeting payroll requirements. However, there is no stipulation on how the money can be used, he explained. The only requirement Torah Umesorah has for issuing a loan, is that the member school produce two lay endorsers.
Rabbi Goldenberg attributed the greater request for loans this year to the poor economic situation and the court rulings against state aid to religious schools. He also said that Jewish communal welfare agencies and funds have not yet implemented their commitment to help Hebrew day schools, causing a crisis in the day schools.