Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Nisan 5768 - May 1, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Hagemach Hamerkazi Expands: First US Branch to Open in Lakewood

By Yechiel Sever

As part of its rapid expansion, Hagemach Hamerkazi is soon to open its first US branch. Scheduled to open in Lakewood the new branch will provide service for chareidim throughout the US under the management of Rabbi Shlomo Korlansky, who recently made a round of visits accompanied by Rabbi Moshe Montag, director of Hagemach Hamerkazi, to the homes of gedolei Yisroel shlita to request their blessings.

Five years after its founding gemach managers say 7,000 families from all parts of Eretz Yisroel have joined, contributing enough money to buy 50,000 housing units, which will make it easier to purchase apartments when the time comes to marry off their children.

The idea behind the gemach, which was founded by HaRav Gavriel Yosef Levy, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Be'er HaTorah, is already well-known: Each member can donate $1,200 for each housing unit per child (120 payments of $10 per month) and when their children are set to wed the couple will receive loan privileges in accordance with the number of units they donated.

With thousands of new members the directors of Hagemach Hamerkazi have decided to increase the number of units that may be donated and to receive in the future up to four units per child, which entitles the donors' children to a loan of $40,000. If both sets of parents belong to the gemach they may be entitled to a loan of as much as $80,000 with 100 payments, as an alternative to taking out a mortgage loan. The gemach has set a fixed exchange rate of four shekels to the dollar, both at the time of the contribution and the time the loan is made.

The gemach plan is widely known in chareidi circles. Not only have a large number of units been donated, but many families have also deposited sums of money into the gemach, allowing them to release units for couples getting married long before the date originally set for loan eligibility.

With the gemach taking root and expanding in Eretz Hakodesh the directors decided to take the project overseas. Rabbi Shlomo Korlansky, a prominent chareidi activist in Petach Tikva, has been appointed manager of the US branch.

General Director Rabbi Moshe Montag says the US branch is set to open following numerous requests from chareidi Jews in various US communities. The goal of the branch is to allow Jews in the US to join the gemach in Eretz Yisroel, and to serve US residents as well. But since home purchasing differs in the US, donating the units in the US will entitle American donors to a sum of money to cover wedding expenses or to donate the units to family members living in Eretz Yisroel and to make deposits.


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