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LEGACY STORIES

A Legacy story built on friendship

Legacy gifts are often the result of deep connections and shared values. This is the story of Belle and her friend, Professor Eliezer Jaffe, founder of the OGEN. Belle lived in New York and had worked for The Merchants Bank of New York before she moved to Israel from the U.S.

By Israel Legacy Central

 

Legacy gifts are often the result of deep connections and shared values. This is the story of Belle and her friend, Professor Eliezer Jaffee, founder of the OGEN.
Belle lived in New York and had worked for The Merchants Bank of New York before she moved to Israel. She knew Eliezer and contacted him with a request.

“You are the one person who can help me with my problem,” she told him. She explained to Eliezer that she was thinking about the future and wanted to make out her will.

Having never married or had children of her own, she intended to leave money to non-profit organizations in Israel that were meaningful to her. Happy to help, Eliezer recommended that Belle do her homework by reviewing information about various Israeli non-profit organizations. He suggested that she access Giving Wisely – a book and website providing a listing of Israel’s non-profits that later became the basis for GuideStar Israel.

 

“You are the one person who can help me with my problem,” she told him. She explained to Eliezer that she was thinking about the future and wanted to make out her will.

Belle consulted with an attorney and created an estate plan that identified charitable beneficiaries. Once Belle moved to Jerusalem, Eliezer felt that Belle needed some assistance with her everyday activities and errands and placed an ad in the Jerusalem Post in search of a volunteer to help Belle on a regular basis. The volunteer who answered the ad became very close to Belle.

Over the next several years, Eliezer would visit regularly with Belle. Belle considered Eliezer both a friend a trusted advisor, more than he even realized. When Belle passed away, Eliezer learned to his surprise that she had named him as executor of her estate.

Eliezer organized Belle’s funeral and took care of selling her apartment and belongings, a true act of loving-kindness. One of the non-profits to receive a legacy gift from Belle’s estate was OGEN. Formerly known as the Israel Free Loan Association, OGEN is a non-profit social lending enterprise, providing affordable credit to disadvantages segments of the Israeli public. A loan fund was established in Belle’s name.

Beyond her own contribution, Belle’s legacy has inspired others. During their lifetimes, two of Belle’s sisters always marked her yahrzeit with donations for the fund and marked family celebrations too, with additional donations. Belle’s niece continues to contribute to the fund in her memory and to mark special family occasions, continuing a family value of philanthropy and caring for others. The volunteer who had become close to Belle while she assisted her also established a loan fund at Ogen.

To date, Belle’s fund has provided 108 interest-free loans to working Israelis in financial need, and her legacy of kindness and responsibility lives on in her named loan fund at Ogen, thanks to the close friendship she shared with Eliezer.

Legacy gifts to a non-profit with which you identify can be a way to “add a child” to your family. Interaction over time between organization representatives and people seeking to secure a lasting legacy is a great way to identify the “family” with which you want to share your values.

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