JVS Chicago Offers Low-interest Loans to Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur who dreams of starting your own business and are willing to work to transform that dream into reality, JVS Chicago’s Duman Entrepreneurship Center can help with a combination of hands-on technical assistance, training in business operations and a three-year, very low-interest loan to get the business started.

Entrepreneurs who have a solid business plan, twelve months of realistic cash flow projections and some some relevant business experience can qualify to receive a low-interest small business loan up to a maximum of $15,000. Advisors are available to deliver practical guidance and advice and meet one-on-one with clients to help build the required documents. Once completed, the loan package is presented to a Loan Approval Committee. The Duman Loan Committee makes the final decision to reject or approve an application.

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After Your Big Idea, Before the Business Plan

By Kenny Smilovitch, Director of the Duman Entrepreneurship Center

An aspiring entrepreneur recently asked me, “What is the first thing I should do when considering starting a business for the very first time?” We often hear, “It is important to have a well-thought-out business plan,” a map that will guide us as we navigate the challenges en route to realizing our vision. But before we consider details of the plan such as business structure, registration, insurance and licenses, allow me to highlight a few components that I feel are critical before getting started: character, experience, marketing and support. So grab a coffee and let’s reflect on some ideas you may want to flesh out on your laptop or on the back of a napkin.

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Highlights from Hamburg-A Delicate Balance

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

Throughout the week, most of our group quickly bonds. It is as if there is an unspoken familiarity, and we somehow find a balance between listening to each other’s stories, sharing our own, and finding and wondering about common experiences and crossed paths. The balancing act is, at least for me, a constant process throughout our visit to Germany. 

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Looking Further Back – Holocaust Survivors and Families Meet in Hamburg

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

This is my second time coming to Germany. And, again, I feel an intense ambivalence and strange mixture of anticipation and apprehension. When I came three years ago, I wrote about this same feeling:

“In a million years, I never thought I would be on a plane on my way to Germany.  I grew up with a powerful and clear message; ‘We don’t buy German,’ we write ‘No Krups or Braun’ on our wedding registry, and we certainly don’t go to Germany.  When we have strayed from this edict and bought German, like our now defunct Bosch dishwasher or my grandfather’s used Mercedes ‘lemon,’ we are punished by dishes that don’t get clean and motors that need to be rebuilt. The reason? We are a ‘Survivor Family’ with all that means, all that comes with that identity.  And that also happens to be the exact reason that I am on a plane to Munich right now.

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Visiting Yad Vashem: An illegal photograph and a shoemaker whose children have no shoes.

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

I hadn't been to Yad Vashem in more than 25 years. Established in 1953, it is the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Here, too, much had changed, and much remained the same. The location is as breathtaking as I remembered it to be: set high on Mt. Herzl, overlooking Jerusalem, with an expansive vista of hazy mountains, clusters of Cyprus trees and the golden city below. There are pristine connecting paths and spaces between the visitors center, the main museum, the museum of holocaust art, the hall of names, the research buildings, the beautiful gardens and memorial sculptures throughout the grounds of this world-renowned memorial center. There are plenty of places to pause, to think, to feel, to attempt to take in the enormity.

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The International Oral History Conference at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

Judy Kaplan-Weinger and I take the light rail to Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus), the main campus of Hebrew University.  This is where – more than 30 years ago, as a University of Michigan undergraduate – I had embarked on my study of social identity in American and Israeli women. In Israel, I had worked under the mentorship of Dr. Amia Lieblich – a professor of oral history who will be the keynote speaker of the conference I'm attending. Once again, I find myself looking back at then, now.

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Finding Connection to the Holocaust and Hamburg, in Jerusalem

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

I take the bus to Jerusalem on Friday, arriving before Shabbat to meet my friend and co-researcher, Judy Kaplan-Weinger. We meet at the apartment I've rented for our stay in Jerusalem. It’s in a beautiful old building around the corner from the Bezalel Art School and located within walking distance of the city center and beyond it, the Old City. The chamseen (hot desert wind) has passed, and the weather is sunny and clear, with a perfect temperature for strolling and exploring.

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For Child of Holocaust Survivor, Professional and Personal Meet at Looking at Then, Now

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

This is the first blog of “Yonit’s Journey: Light Out of Darkness,” a narrative of Yonit Hoffman’s month-long trip to Israel and Germany to attend Holocaust-related events – some public, some personal. The director of JCFS’s Holocaust Services program and an authority on the psychology of Holocaust survivors, Yonit is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and descendant of Holocaust victims.

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Light Out of Darkness: Yonit Hoffman to Blog a Journey of Holocaust Discovery

“Yonit” is a Hebrew name – literally “dove of peace” – given by Holocaust survivor Gershon Hoffman to his daughter when she was born in Israel.

Yonit, who lost her grandparents and uncle in the Holocaust, grew up to become a Jewish Child & Family Services manager of the Holocaust Community Services program, a joint effort of JCFS, CJE SeniorLife, and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. It is one of the busiest and most important social service programs in the Jewish community.

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