About 15 years ago, Daniel and Maita Shinefield were one more missed tuition payment from having to pull their son, Mordy, from Jewish day school.
Their company, Quantum Technology, which buys and sells data center equipment, was going through a tough stretch and the Bala Cynwyd couple thought Mordy would soon have to attend public school.
Fortunately, they learned of the Chaya Mushka G’Milus Chesed Fund of Lubavitch of Philadelphia, which for the last four decades has provided interest-free loans to the community. The program has its roots in Jewish law, which states that it is a mitzvah to lend to those in need — provided that you do not charge any interest.
The Shinefields received and repaid the loan. Their son was able to stay at his day school. Since then, their company has become successful and now employs Mordy, along with his two brothers and a cousin.
Meanwhile, Daniel and Maita have not forgotten the help they received in their time of need. They have remained heavily involved with the Lubavitch of Philadelphia and regularly donate to the group.
For those longstanding contributions, the organization will honor the couple at its 40th annual Melaveh Malkah on March 1 at the Lubavitcher Center in Northeast Philadelphia.
The Shinefields “are good hearted people, and they love to help Jewish causes,” said Rabbi Zalman Lipsker, who has overseen the Lubavitcher fund since its establishment in 1973. “They always are involved; they always come to events; and they always donate.”
The fund only requires that applicants have a cosigner and a bank account. Applicants are not asked why they need the loan to avoid embarrassment.
Those qualities and the fact that the organization does not turn people down, make the fund special, said Daniel Shinefield.
“The Torah says don’t oppress your brother, and the whole idea is to go ahead and take care of each other in a non-oppressive way,” said Shinefield.
The Lubavitch of Philadelphia typically provides individual loans of up to $1,500. In 2013, it loaned out more than $250,000, according to Lipsker.
He said only about 10 percent of recipients each year do not repay their loans, but the organization does not write the debt off in hopes that it will someday receive what is owed.
Lending within the faith “brings a Jew closer to Yiddishkeit and brings him closer to God,” said Lipsker.
To learn more about the program, contact 215-725-2030.