About Ogen

Ogen provides life-changing loans to
families, homebuyers, small-businesses and NGOs in Israel.

Ogen, formerly known as the Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA), is a non-profit social lending enterprise, providing affordable credit to disadvantaged segments of the Israeli public. Our mission is to increase upward economic mobility for low and middle income families and small business owners. Founded by the late Professor Eliezer Jaffe, since 1990 Ogen has provided more than 60,000 interest-free loans, totaling more than $300 million.

Originally established to help new immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union adjust to their new lives in Israel, Ogen’s outlook has expanded over the years.

Today Ogen is a social lending enterprise offering various credit solutions as well as financial guidance for low and middle income Israelis. Ogen’s loans are a platform to drive economic growth and empowerment, closing socio-economic gaps on a national scale.

“Ogen changed my life.” 

Meirav Sami
Owner of “Cafe Zarifa” in Jerusalem,
Ogen borrower.

Despite the extent of Ogen’s impact over the past three decades, the need for affordable credit is growing, at a pace which cannot be funded through donations alone. This is why Ogen has launched the Ogen- Israel Social Loan Fund, an impact investment fund providing loans to small businesses, first-time homebuyers and non-profit organizations, on a low-interest, non-profit basis.

Ogen’s lending capabilities build on the success of IFLA, which over its almost 30-year history has lent more than $300 million to disadvantaged people and businesses, with a default rate of less than 1%.

Structure

Ogen is one home for two lending platforms.

Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund is the largest Jewish free-loan association in the world. The $55 million fund, donated by thousands of donors from across the globe, provides interest-free personal loans and micro-loans for small businesses. Since 1990, the Free Loan Fund has provided more than $300 million in interest-free loans to over 60,000 low and middle income families and small businesses. Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund is a registered non-profit organization in Israel, with organizations for tax-exempt donations in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund is an impact investment fund providing loans to small businesses, first-time homebuyers and non-profit organizations, on a low-interest, non-profit basis. The Israel Social Loan Fund is a forerunner to Ogen – Israel Social Bank, the first non-profit digital social bank in Israel, providing affordable and transformative credit solutions and financial services to all Israelis.

The Future - Israel Social Bank

A caring, people-first digital bank, with no commercial shareholders or need to pay out dividends.

  • Licensed by the Bank of Israel
  • Low-interest credit lending 
  • Innovative digital banking services for all Israelis

Ogen is working closely with the Bank of Israel to receive a banking license, expected in late 2019, having already raised the requisite equity.

Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund

Ofir Ozeri
Chairman of the Ogen Group

Ofir chairs the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”. In this role, Ofir is intensely involved on a daily basis in the process of establishing the first social, not-for-profit bank in Israel. Ofir joined the board of Ogen (then the Israel Free Loan Association – IFLA) in 2008, serving later as Deputy Chairman before being named Chairman in 2015. 

Ofir, owner of Ofir Ozeri Law Co. in Jerusalem, is a lawyer specializing in real estate planning and construction, as well as commercial and civil litigation. Ofir has extensive experience in municipal government and administration, having served as Deputy Head of Council, member of the local Planning and Construction Committee and Chairman of the Development Committee of his local neighborhood of Har Adar. 

Ofir holds a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an LLB from The College of Management Academic Studies. He is a member of the Israeli Bar Association and a licensed notary.

Aviad Friedman
Chairman of the Israeli Association of Community Centers

Aviad serves in a voluntary capacity as Chairman of the Israeli Association of Community Centers (IACC), a national organization employing 28,000 people with a budget close to ILS 4 billion, which has been rehabilitated financially under Aviad’s leadership. Aviad also serves as Vice President of the World Confederation of Jewish Community Centers, sharing his knowledge from the Israeli setting with Jewish communities around the world.

In business, Aviad has served since 2007 as CEO of a privately held investment company focused on the media and energy sectors. Aviad is an active technology investor, currently serving as a board member and chair of the audit committee at Oramed Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ). Aviad has more than 15 years of experience serving on the boards of companies including Maayan Ventures, Capital Point, Rhythmia Medical and Rosetta Green Ltd.

Aviad previously served as Chief Operating Officer of one of Israel’s premier newspapers, Ma’ariv. Prior to joining the private sector, Aviad worked in the civil service, as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, senior adviser to the Minister of Immigrant Absorption, advisor to the Foreign Minister and Director General of the Ministry for Social and Diaspora Affairs. During his time in government Aviad was centrally involved in the absorption of Russian and Ethiopian immigrants to Israel.

Aviad has served on the board The Jewish National Fund, as director of The Plesner Committee for Equality in National Service and as a founding committee member in the planning of Taglit-Birthright. Aviad founded the Bnei Zion leadership academy in Tel Aviv, where he continues to teach voluntarily, and is the founder of the Yachad synagogue and community in Tel Aviv. Aviad lives in Tel Aviv with his wife Dr. Hannah Friedman, a Talmud scholar, and their five children. Aviad is the author of a best-selling book, describing the family’s journey raising an autistic child. Aviad holds an MA in Public Policy from Bar-Ilan University and is a graduate of the senior management program at the Israeli Center of Management.

Boaz Raam
Businessman and Social Entrepreneur

Boaz is a businessman and social entrepreneur. As a businessman, he serves on the board of General Mills (Israel), which he co-founded and on the board of Volta Belting Technology.
As an active social investor, Boaz founded and chairs the board committee of Partners of NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), which supports and teaches entrepreneurship to youth at risk. He is also a member of the Board of JDC and chairs its Global Social Business Investments Committee. Boaz is a member of JFN and a former board member of the New Jersey-Israel Commission.

Boaz is an active member of the Committed To Give initiative, dedicated to promoting Israeli philanthropy. As an investor in Social Finance Israel, a community interest company, Boaz helped raise ILS 20 million to fund an experimental treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Boaz served in the Intelligence Unit of the IDF and is a graduate of Columbia University.

David Ram
Partner at Goldrock Capital

David is a Partner at Goldrock Capital – a high-touch multi-family office servicing very high-net-worth clients in Israel and internationally. David joined Goldrock in 2008, helped build out the full alternative investment platform and grow the client base.

In addition, David is a Partner in Goldrock’s Growth Equity Fund, creating a portfolio of private assets in technology companies in Israel. Prior to joining Goldrock, David launched the Israeli office of VantagePoint Venture Partners and acted as an associate in the venture capital investment team. David launched his career at Merrill Lynch in 1998 where he built high growth oriented equity portfolios for wealth management clients.

David moved to Israel in 1999 and began working as a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young within the corporate finance group. David holds a B.S. in Finance from Yeshiva University in New York.

David joined the board of Ogen in 2013 after searching for a platform to drive meaningful change within Israel’s lower socioeconomic environment by providing access to efficient credit. In that capacity, David has been instrumental in launching the Goodwill track at Ogen, in partnership with a number of third party organizations. David was central to the development of Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund, working closely with the Milken Institute and chairing the initial steering committee that devised the fund’s structure.

David serves on the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”.

Dalia Tal
World-renowned Banking Lawyer at the Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Firm

Dalia specializes in commercial law and has rich experience in mergers and acquisitions, privatization of banks and other governmental institutions, spin-offs, mergers, tender offers and other complex transactions. Dalia also specializes in corporate governance and related regulatory requirements, and she has extensive experience in representing clients before the Bank of Israel, the Ministry of Finance, the Supervisor of Insurance and the Israeli Securities Authority. Dalia has served for over 25 years as the legal advisor for the board of directors of Bank Leumi.

Dalia teaches a workshop in “Management Aspects of Corporate Governance” at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.  She has also lectured for many years in her fields of expertise, including at the Tel Aviv University Business School, the Institute for Advanced Studies for Lawyers and in other forums, on commercial law topics such as banking, financing, mergers, corporate governance and administrative enforcement.
 
Prior to the merger that created Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, Dalia was a founding partner of Kantor, Elhanani Tal & Co

Daniel Recanati
Founder & CEO of Rhodium

Daniel is the founder & CEO of Rhodium, a privately-owned investment firm with a diverse portfolio including some of Israel’s most promising companies. Daniel founded and invested in numerous tech ventures from early stage to growth, across different sectors such as fintech, foodtech, cyber, AI, digital media, e-commerce, automotive, communication and mobile. Daniel loves working with entrepreneurs from the early stages of their companies and helping them fulfill their potential. He is an early investor in companies such as Outbrain, Yotpo, Storedot, Face.com (acquired by Facebook), Hopstop (Apple), Zooz (PayU), Rounds (Kik), Hexatier (Huawei), and Compass (Sage).

For over two decades, Daniel has been focusing on accelerating social impact through technology, by co-founding and being closely involved in a variety of community organizations. Daniel serves on the board of The Yahel Foundation, the Recanati family philanthropy foundation, which aims to narrow social gaps by driving social processes and supporting non-profit organizations that advance education, welfare and health. Daniel also serves on the board of MadaTech – The Israel National Museum of Science Technology and Space. Daniel co-founded and serves on the board of Apple Seeds Academy (“Tapuah”), an Israeli nonprofit organization that was founded with the aim of bridging  Israel’s growing tech sector and the digital peripheries. Furthermore, Daniel co-founded Skills, a social non-profit venture, powered by several of Israel’s leading tech companies, with a mission to provide accessible tech-orientated education.

Daniel holds an LLB and BA from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, Salit, and their two boys. Daniel is a passionate entrepreneur, loves to explore the world, and is especially fascinated by how new technologies can positively shape our lives.

Tal Shlasky
Israel's Leading Expert in Banking Technology

Tal is one of Israel’s leading experts in banking technology. In recent years, he managed several divisions of Bank Hapoalim, including all of the bank’s digital and off-branch activities, overseeing hundreds of employees.

Tal held a variety of executive management positions at Hapoalim, including leading the Business Technology Leadership program, the Direct Banking division, the Financial Markets division’s headquarters, the CRM program, the DWH project and several management and advisory roles in the Security Division.

Tal specializes in business strategy, change management, omni-channel, mobile, data management, analytics & big data, social banking, customer journeys, digital payments, Blockchain & cryptocurrencies, and customer relationship management models.

Tal has lectured at Bar Ilan University, worked as a reporter for the economic newspaper, Globes, and served on the board of a mutual fund.

He holds a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Tel Aviv University. He is also a licensed investment advisor by the Israeli Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tal is highly active in his local community of Shoham in a number of social initiatives, as a lay-leader, donor and volunteer.

Yair Cohen
Founder and CEO of Avnei Derech Real Estate Investment Initiative

Yair is the founder and CEO of Avnei Derech Real Estate Investment Initiative, established in 2009, which plans and constructs real estate projects throughout Israel. In its early years, the company focused on guiding families through the process of purchasing their first apartment, realty, and estate management.  In more recent years, Avnei Derech transitioned into an entrepreneurial enterprise that plans and constructs housing projects throughout the country. Today there are nearly 2,000 Avnei Derech apartments in the planning or construction stages, many of which are part of the government sponsored low cost apartment lottery program.

Yair was active in establishing the religious social community in Ramat Hasharon in 2005.  To help support this community, Yair became a financial advisor for the Paamonim organization and he quickly was promoted to a managerial role. At Paamonim, Yair helped hundreds of families achieve financial independence.

In 2012, Yair partnered with Rabbi Amitzur Ariel to establish the Ahim La’Bayit organization, a non-profit designed to guide families through the process of purchasing their first apartment.  In 2017, Ahim La’Bayit merged with Ogen and is now known as Ogen La’Bayit.  Yair currently chairs the Ogen La’Bayit steering committee.

Yair serves on the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”. In addition to his roles at Ogen, Yair is establishing the Jewish Economic Institute, highlighting the role of compassionate social values in Jewish law with regards to public policy.

Linda Benshoshan
Businesswoman, Banker and Investor

Linda is a partner at the private real estate fund “Forma”, specializing in real estate investments in Europe. She also holds directorship at Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Energix Renewable Energies and MRR Thirteen Limited.  She serves on multiple boards and chairs the investment committees of a number of provident funds and study funds.

Linda serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Jaffa Institute, a non-profit that provides educational enrichment to disadvantaged children from Jaffa, southern Tel Aviv and Bat Yam.

Linda served as Deputy Commissioner of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings at the Ministry of Finance and as Israel’s Consul of Economic Affairs in the southwest United States.  She served in a wide range of positions at Israel Discount Bank, including CEO of Discount Provident Fund, Deputy CEO and the Head of the Asset Management Division and held directorships at Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Linda was also a member of the Lubetzki Committee for determining the criteria for the distribution of the funds of TOTO (Israeli National council for Sports Betting Regulation).

Linda earned an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Management.

Board

Ofir Ozeri Adv.
Chairman of the Board

Ofir Ozeri is Chairman of the Ogen group, chairing the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”. In this role, Ofir is intensely involved on a daily basis in the process of establishing the first social, not-for-profit bank in Israel. Ofir joined the board of Ogen (IFLA) in 2008, serving later as Deputy Chairman before being named Chairman in 2015. 

Ofir, owner of Ofir Ozeri Law Co. in Jerusalem, is a lawyer specializing in real estate planning and construction, as well as commercial and civil litigation. Ofir has extensive experience in municipal government and administration, having served as Deputy Head of Council, member of the local Planning and Construction Committee and Chairman of the Development Committee of his local neighborhood of Har Adar. 

Ofir holds a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an LLB from the The College of Management Academic Studies. He is a member of the Israeli Bar Association and a licensed notary.

David Ram
Partner, Goldrock Capital; Chair, Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund Committee

David is a Partner at Goldrock Capital – a high-touch multi-family office servicing very high-net-worth clients in Israel and internationally. David joined Goldrock in 2008, helped build out the full alternative investment platform and grow the client base.

In addition, David is a Partner in Goldrock’s Growth Equity Fund, creating a portfolio of private assets in technology companies in Israel. Prior to joining Goldrock, David launched the Israeli office of VantagePoint Venture Partners and acted as an associate in the venture capital investment team. David launched his career at Merrill Lynch in 1998 where he built high growth oriented equity portfolios for wealth management clients.

David moved to Israel in 1999 and began working as a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young within the corporate finance group. David holds a B.S. in Finance from Yeshiva University in New York.

David joined the board of Ogen in 2013 after searching for a platform to drive meaningful change within Israel’s lower socioeconomic environment by providing access to efficient credit. In that capacity, David has been instrumental in launching the Goodwill track at Ogen, in partnership with a number of third party organizations. David was central to the development of Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund, working closely with the Milken Institute and chairing the initial steering committee that devised the fund’s structure.

David serves on the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”.

Ohad Eini
Vice Chair, Ogen; Chief Government Appraiser, Ministry of Justice

Deputy Chairman of Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund and a member of the Board of Directors since 2006, Ohad is the Chief Government Appraiser at the Ministry of Justice. In the past he held a number of senior positions in the Israel Land Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality. He was also the owner of a real estate appraisal and consulting firm.

Ohad is a graduate of the Hebrew University, with a BA in Geography. He is married to Naomi, an educational psychologist and daughter of the founder of Ogen, Professor Eliezer Jaffe z”l.

Peggy Brill
Private Consultant to Foundations and Non-Profit Organizations

Peggy Brill is chairperson of the Ogen Strategic Partnerships Committee.  Working in non-profit life for the past 40 years, she is currently a consultant to both the Gottesman Fund and the Samis Foundation in their Israeli philanthropy. 

She was Director of International Relations for the Society for the Protection of Nature for a decade before establishing her consulting business, serving a wide range of environmental, educational, cultural and social welfare organizations.

She studied government at Connecticut College and continued on to graduate studies in international relations, social work and Jewish education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Yeshiva University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was a Jerusalem Fellow in the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Samuel Cohen Solal
Managing Director, Sweetwood Capital

Samuel Cohen Solal is the co-founder and Managing Director of Sweetwood Capital, a multi-family office based in Tel Aviv. Additionally, he is the Managing General Partner of Sweetwood Ventures, a Luxembourg based fund of funds of Israeli venture capital created in partnership with Banque Degroof Petercam, a leading Belgian Bank holding over USD 60 billion. Before starting Sweetwood Capital, Samuel served as a corporate lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. After gaining experience as an analyst at Rothschild, he joined Neuflize OBC – ABN AMRO where he worked as a fund manager, before being promoted to Head of Strategy for Asia and Commodities for Bank Neuflize OBC (€30 billion under management). He then moved to the private banking side of the Bank to manage ultra-high and high net-worth individuals’ accounts.

In addition to serving on Ogen’s board, Samuel is a trustee of La Fondation des Etats-Unis, a board member of Ekhal Abraham and a mentor at IVN. Samuel also served on the University of Chicago Alumni Board of Governors.

Samuel earned a BA with honors in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a Diplome Grande Ecole from HEC. He also holds a Master of Business and Tax Law from Sorbonne University and a Master of Law in Litigation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolutions from Assas University in France. Samuel holds admission to the French Bar.

Chaim Neuman
Former Treasurer, Tefachot Mortgage Bank

Chaim Neuman is a private investor focused on capital markets. Prior to his retirement, Chaim spent 31 years at Tefahot Israel Mortgage Bank Ltd., now Bank-Mizrahi Tefahot, serving in an number of senior leadership positions, including as Treasurer of the bank.

In addition to his longstanding role on the board of Ogen, Chaim previously served as chairman of Keren Dor HaAtid.

Born in Tel Aviv, Chaim holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MA in international relations from the London School of Economics.

Uri Jaffe
Director of the Volunteer and Non-profit Organizations Division, Municipality of Tel Aviv

Uri Jaffe is a social worker and currently serves as Director of the Volunteer and Non-Profit Organizations Division of the Tel Aviv Municipality.  In this capacity, he matches Tel Aviv residents with volunteer opportunities at non-profit organizations that share their interests.

In the past, Uri served as Israeli emissary to the WZO chapter in Los Angeles.  There he organized and promoted Zionist programming for youth, students, young adults and families.  Prior to that, he served as the Executive Director of the Yeladim – Fair Chance for Children organization and Assistant Director of the AACI Jerusalem Office.

Uri holds a BSW from Bar Ilan University and an MSW from Yeshiva University.

Yishai Tachover
East Jerusalem Regional Director, Gichon Water Company

Yishai Tachover is community leader and public sector professional.  Since 2001, Yishai has served in a variety of management positions at Jerusalem’s Gichon Water Company. Currently serving as East Jerusalem Regional Director, Yishai is responsible for improving the water infrastructure and preventing water waste for East Jerusalem’s 350,000 residents. Prior to that, he served as Collection Department Manager where he managed 65 water meter staff members.  As Information Systems Manager, he established and managed the Gichon IT department.  While acting as Director of Customer Service, Yishai trained and managed around 50 employees who issued invoices at a total of ILS 400 million.  

In 2017-2018, Yishai served as Deputy Mayor of the Gush Etzion Regional Council.  He has been a member of Ogen’s Board since 2007.

In previous years, Yishai served as CEO of the Efrat Local Council, where he ensured that the council ran in accordance with the mayor’s policies.  He supervised 150 employees in 15 departments and met with government officials to finalize projects and budgets. Yishai also served as director of the Efrat community center and as a tour guide who led hundreds of groups throughout Israel. 

Yishai holds a MA in Public Policy and BA in Geography and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Edward Cohen
Former Chairman, Ogen; Private Investor

Edward Cohen has been deeply involved in philanthropic and voluntary work throughout his life. Born in Iraq and raised in the UK, Edward qualified as a chartered accountant in 1963, building a successful career in the investment field until his retirement. Edward was a partner for many years at the stockbroking firm Schaverien & Co. in London, before moving to Israel in 1983 and working in Israel’s nascent venture capital industry as a founding partner of the First IsraTech Fund.

Edward joined the board of the Israel Free Loan Association (now Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund) in 1991, later succeeding the organization’s founder, Prof. Eliezer Jaffe z’’l, as chairman.

Edward is president of the Keren Simcha Letzdaka Fund. He serves on the boards of NGO Monitor, the Jaffa Institute, Magal (Institute for Advanced Torah Studies) at Bar Ilan University, and Bet Av (Center for Creativity and Renewal in Torah).

Zvi Feine
Former Deputy Director, JDC-Israel and Director, JDC Africa and Asia

Born in New York, USA, in 1942, Zvi made Aliyah to Israel in 1960. He has five children and twelve grandchildren in Israel. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and received his Doctorate from the School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania.

Zvi was Deputy-Director of JDC-Israel for thirty years. Following that, until his retirement in 2010, he served JDC as Director for Africa and Asia. In addition, for eighteen years he held the position of Chairman of the Board of ESHEL (the Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel) – JDC’s major partnership with the Government of Israel in carrying out its programs for the aged in Israel. He is also a former Director of the Hebrew University’s Schwartz Program – now Master’s Degree program in Project Management.

In previous years, Zvi was JDC Consultant on Social Services for many countries including Morocco, France, Romania and trans-migrant programs in Vienna and Rome. He was also Chief Program Officer for AJJDC-New York in 2001-2002, which included the role of Area Director for Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. He served for over five years as JDC Country Director for Poland (1989-1995) and gave almost nineteen years of service as JDC Country Director for Romania (1988-2005), providing professional support for the Jewish community’s youth programs, as well as its health and social services, with an emphasis on aiding elderly, indigent Jews.

Since his retirement in 2010, Zvi has provided high-level consultation to various non-profit organizations in Israel, such as Melitz (Jewish and Zionist pluralistic education) and Shekel (rehabilitation of developmentally disabled young adults). He continues his volunteer work as Senior Consultant to JDC, as well as teaching an annual course in ‘Managing Philanthropy’ at the Schwartz Program, at the Baerwald School of Social Work of the Hebrew University. He has also served as Acting Director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, for most of 2015.

Yair Cohen
Founder and CEO of Avnei Derech Real Estate Investment Initiative​

Yair is the founder and CEO of Avnei Derech Real Estate Investment Initiative, established in 2009, which plans and constructs real estate projects throughout Israel. In its early years, the company focused on guiding families through the process of purchasing their first apartment, realty, and estate management.  In more recent years, Avnei Derech transitioned into an entrepreneurial enterprise that plans and constructs housing projects throughout the country. Today there are nearly 2,000 Avnei Derech apartments in the planning or construction stages, many of which are part of the government sponsored low cost apartment lottery program.

Yair was active in establishing the religious social community in Ramat Hasharon in 2005.  To help support this community, Yair became a financial advisor for the Paamonim organization and he quickly was promoted to a managerial role. At Paamonim, Yair helped hundreds of families achieve financial independence.

In 2012, Yair partnered with Rabbi Amitzur Ariel to establish the Ahim La’Bayit organization, a non-profit designed to guide families through the process of purchasing their first apartment.  In 2017, Ahim La’Bayit merged with Ogen and is now known as Ogen La’Bayit.  Yair currently chairs the Ogen La’Bayit steering committee.

Yair serves on the boards of directors of both “Ogen – Israel Free Loan Fund” and “Ogen – Israel Social Loan Fund”. In addition to his roles at Ogen, Yair is establishing the Jewish Economic Institute, highlighting the role of compassionate social values in Jewish law with regards to public policy.

Joel Baris Adv.
Private Attorney and Consultant; Former Chief Counsel, Israel Ministry of Finance

Joel Baris Adv. currently heads the Ministry of Finance’s Committee for the Implementation of Regulation of Non-Institutional Financial Services, also known as “the Baris Committee”.  This committee formulated the proposal that was then legislated by the Knesset, regarding non-institutional lenders, financial services providers (money exchanges), and credit unions. In addition, this committee formulated the pending legislation regarding non-interest non-profit credit and deposit institutes. At present, the committee is in the process of hearing public comments to draft legislation regarding Peer-to-Peer (“P2P”) loan platforms.

Previously, he was part of the team of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance from 1993 to 2008. In this capacity, he took part in various projects and reforms for the Markets and Insurance Division of the Ministry, and lead the legislation of the Bachar Reform of 2005. From 2008 to 2016 Mr. Baris served as the Chief Legal Advisor to the Ministry. There he led the legal aspects of the government’s programs to deal with the global financial crisis. In these years, he was responsible for the legal advice to the ministry, including the legislation of the Bank of Israel Law of 2010.

Joel is also the Legal Advisor and VP of Public Policy in Start-Up Nation Central, an Israeli non-for-profit dedicated to making Israel a center of innovation and technology.

Yona Cohen
Founding Executive Director, Ogen

Yona Cohen was one of Ogen’s (then the Israel Free Loan Association’s) founders.  After helping Eliezer Jaffe to establish the organization, she served as Ogen’s Founding Executive Director from 1995 to 2013.  In this capacity, she ran and oversaw the fundraising, public relations, budget management and monetary reporting during the organization’s early years.

Prior to this, she served as chief financial officer of a meat processing company.  There she managed a staff of 30 employees.

Leadership

Sagi Balasha
CEO

Sagi serves as CEO of Ogen, formerly the Israel Free Loan Association. Before joining Ogen Sagi served as the CEO of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), Under his leadership, the organization grew from a local operation with one office and four employees, to a national operation with ten offices and eighty employees in major cities around the U.S. Sagi established the IAC as a premier organization in the American Jewish landscape.

Prior to this, Sagi was the VP of Finance and Development at Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People where he headed a financial recovery plan, taking the institution from considerable deficit and financial crisis to a state of comprehensive and consistent development, increasing the growth of the museum’s budget, space, and activity by more than 100%. Sagi launched his career in the budget department of the Israel Ministry of Finance, where he oversaw 20% of the government budget and was involved in major structural changes and reforms.

Sagi holds a BA with honors in economics and geography from Ben-Gurion University and earned his MA at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Sagi serves as a board member in several NGOs including Science Abroad, Israel Is, Act-IL and The Institute for Zionist Strategies.

sagi@ogen.org

Simon Cadranel
Chief Lending Officer

Simon Cadranel is the Chief Lending Officer of Ogen. Originally from the UK, Simon moved to Israel in 1997 after graduating from the London School of Economics. He has over 15 years’ experience in banking in Jerusalem and in New York. In New York Simon was a successful branch manager, growing his branch from $30m in revenue to over $90, on the back working mainly with local small businesses. Simon was instrumental in building and implementing coaching and customer service programs for the entire branch network. 

Simon has held investment advisor (Series 7 and 63) licenses and has an MA in education. Prior to returning to Israel, Simon worked for Bank Leumi USA in International Private Banking.

For the past five years Simon has run the business loans department of Ogen, including making over 400 emergency loans to small businesses in the South during Operation Protective Edge. As Chief Lending Officer at Ogen, and part of the team working to launch Israel’s first not-for-profit bank, Simon’s goal is to provide a modern, efficient banking service which increases access to affordable credit for low and middle income families and small businesses.

simon@ogen.org

David Angel
Director of Strategic Partnerships

David Angel, Director of Strategic Partnerships, leads Ogen’s activities building relationships with funders, opinion leaders and decision makers. He also heads Ogen’s fundraising, donor and investor relations, and communications departments.

Prior to joining Ogen, David was Head of Research at the Nadav Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation based in Tel Aviv. Previous to this David was an Associate Director at APCO Worldwide, a leading global public affairs firm. At APCO, David provided strategic communication and government affairs support to major multinationals in the technology, financial services, energy, mining and pharmaceutical industries.

David previously project-managed the flagship India-China-Japan Fund for Israel’s Ministry of Economy & Industry, overseeing the allocation of financial incentives for multi-sector SME’s launching their operations in Israel’s target markets. In the non-profit space, David has represented major philanthropic funds and cultural institutions with government affairs and communications strategy.

Originally from London, David has a B.A. in History from University College London.

Nir Machluf
Finance and HR Director

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Nir has had a life-long interest in philanthropy as his father, a social worker, was a student of Ogen’s founder, Eliezer Jaffe.

Driven by compassion and ideology, Nir joined Ogen (then IFLA) in 2000. Since then he has been an integral part of Ogen’s development and success, and has helped develop it into an economically robust organization.

Nir is responsible for Ogen’s day to day finance management, accounts reporting, payroll and terms of employment. Nir is a certified type 3 bookkeeper and has completed a number of supplementary accounting courses. In addition, he holds a certificate in payroll management granted by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel.
Outside of Ogen, Nir is a board member of a non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation services to people with disabilities.

David Bango
Director of Ogen La'Bayit

David Bango, Director of the Ogen La’Bayit program, is a social entrepreneur and experienced manager in the non-profit and business sectors.  In the past he filled a variety of management roles, including Director of the Citizen’s Empowerment Center in Israel, where he helped dozens of families in Lod, Acre and Ariel; CEO of the Ta’asukatif non-profit organization, secretary of the B’nei Neve Dekalim community, and marketing manager of the Atzmona plant nurseries.

Mr Bango holds a Bachelors in Education and has completed certificate programs in the fields of marketing, training, and mediation.

Svetlana Mishin
Customer Service Manager

Svetlana was born in the Soviet Union and made aliyah in 1991. She joined Ogen (then IFLA) in 2002 and has served in a number of senior positions, working closely with our lending, loan management and collections departments, as well as managing many of Ogen’s partnerships with affiliate organizations. Svetlana holds a Master’s Degree in Philology and Pedagogy and lives in Jerusalem.

MeiraShewarts
Meira Schwartz
Business Loans Department Manager

Meira Schwartz is a Jerusalem-born economist and mother of five.

In 2018 she joined Ogen with the goal of promoting Ogen’s business loans and developing the social bank.
Meira’s past experience includes work in both the banking and philanthropic sectors. She managed a business loan fund at the Jewish Agency and oversaw budgets at JDC Israel and JDC Europe.

Meira believes that providing proper support to small and medium sized business can help these companies flourish and bolster Israel’s social and economic development.

MosheDaniel
Moshe Daniel
Director of Non-Profit Lending

Moshe leads the establishment and management of the non-profit lending department in Ogen.

Moshe has 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, a banker and an investment manager in England and Switzerland. He established a trading company in England and after selling it, he joined Clariden Leu Bank as a relationship manager. Later on, he established a family office in Zurich for MMG.

Moshe grew up in Israel served as an officer in the IDF and completed his studies in Industrial engineering and management at Ben Gurion University (BSc) and later on completed his MA in law at Bar Ilan University.

Dr. Dan Herman
Director of Marketing

Dan is a business and marketing strategist, expert in creating competitive advantages for companies and brands.

He consulted organizations worlwide and has held a number of senior management positions including: VP Marketing of Migdal Group, Senior VP of Dahaf Group, partner and co-CEO of Elyakim-Herman Advertising and head of Strategy at Bauman-Ber Advertising (Saatchi & Saatchi). 

Dan has taught at Bar Ilan University and other institutions of higher education. He has written several books on strategy and on branding published in Israel, the US, Russia and other countries as well as numerous articles, textbook chapters and e-books.

Carmela Nissim Adv.
Director of Legal Department

Carmela Nissim is the Director of Ogen’s Legal Department. A graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she is a member of the Israel Bar Association and has decades of court experience.

Carmela joined Ogen (then IFLA) in 2002 and established the organization’s legal department, which she has managed since.
Prior to joining Ogen, she owned her own real estate law firm, where she specialized in real estate, businesses, contracts and litigation.

History

The Israel Free Loan Association & Prof. Eliezer David Jaffe z”l, 1933-2017

"Life is a loan, and the interest is good deeds."

Ogen, formerly The Israel Free Loan Association - IFLA, began with Professor Eliezer Jaffe’s desire to help the large wave of Russian and Ethiopian Jewish aliyah that began at the end of the 1980′s. Having previously established the Hebrew University’s School of Social Work and co-founded the university’s Center for the Study of Philanthropy, Professor Jaffe’s idea of a free loan fund arose following a 1989 visit to an immigrant absorption center in Jerusalem...