Other communities – like Edison, New Jersey and Baltimore – have followed EPI’s lead, opening programs of their own and turning to Rabbi Novoseller’s team for input and advice. Still, the rabbi acknowledged, there’s a long way to go. Communities looking to open an EPI model include Miami, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Toronto, and St. Louis, but as of yet no one has stepped forward to take responsibility and implement the program.
Rabbi Novoseller is confident that a rallying call from the Orthodox Union, with its hundreds of synagogues and nationwide presence, will help Jewish populations beyond the New York metro area can connect for a common cause and replicate EPI’s successful model. To facilitate this, EPI is volunteering its time and expertise.
“The OU has people that are passionate in every community,” said Rabbi Novoseller. “What a wonderful opportunity the OU has to encourage all synagogues to unite under their geographic banner and create an organization to help their own.”
Although not everyone has money to give, Rabbi Novoseller feels many have money to lend. For most of the lenders, however, the best payback is having their money reinvested in new loans, helping new applicants. “They’re not giving someone a fish, they’re teaching many to fish.”
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Mr. Stein (not his real name) saw his career hit a dead end three years ago when the market went sour. As a commercial real estate broker, he and his wife, Devora, then a student studying toward her degree in social work, knew something had to change quickly if they were to survive financially. Friends and family members had suggested they open their own business, but the Steins had no money to invest in the project. They had no credit and the money they borrowed from relatives went directly to day-to-day living.
That’s when they contacted the Emergency Parnossa Initiative (EPI) and the OU Job Board and began the process of transforming their lives.
Suffice it to say that when I moved in with Dorothy, my friends were in shock. Most of them were planning to live in the more popular Washington Heights, whereas I had decided to remain in midtown Manhattan. Mostly, however, most of their astonishment was because I was 22, and Dorothy, or Mrs. Hilf, as I call her, was 95.