Jewish communities have relied upon their members to help those in need.


The Tzedekah box is a symbol of us helping each other. This is an expression of one of the higest levels of giving as listed by Maimonides: Neither the recipient or donor know each other.

Direct Aid

The Jewish Federation of WNC maintains a Keren Ami Fund as a source of last resort for those in need. Distributions from this fund to resource-providers are based upon recommendations from Jewish Family Services of WNC.

J.E.L.F. Loans for Post-secondary Education

Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF)  based in Atlanta, in local partnership with our own Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina (JFSWNC), offers interest-free loans for full-time undergraduate study, graduate study, or special post-secondary training (vocational courses or prerequisite programs) in US-accredited institutions of higher learning.

  • JELF Loans are need-based loans for qualified Jewish students who are US Citizens or have lawful immigration status in the US. The applicant and family must be residents of North Carolina for at least one year prior to completing the JELF Loan Application. Review the complete list of JELF Qualifications for Loan Eligibility before applying online.

  • Need is demonstrated in the JELF Application process by providing the Student Aid Report (SAR) received after filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form — as well as other supporting documentation.

  • JELF Loans are last-dollar financingmeaning that JELF provides the final dollars that bridge the gap between a student’s total financial resources and the cost of attending school full-time. That’s why applicants must demonstrate they’ve sought and accepted financing from all available sources: including Government Loans and Grants, like Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and Pell Grants — as well as other loans, scholarships, family contributions, and personal earnings.

  • For all first-time applicants and their co-signers, in-person interviews are required and held locally at Jewish Family Services (JFSWNC) in Asheville. Returning applicants may complete a phone interview.

  • Applicants must provide at least one credit-worthy co-signer who has the ability to repay the full amount of the loan, if the borrower fails to do so. JELF reserves the right to request a second co-signer, contact co-signers to require tax returns as proof of income and, with permission, run credit checks with co-signers.

  • All JELF Loan recipients must reapply — submitting an application each year — as there’s no automatic renewals for those who have received loan awards previously. And, to be eligible for initial and continued funding, recipients must be in good academic standing with a minimum 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA).

  • Repayment begins six months after loan recipient’s graduation or termination of course of study, with up to eight years to repay the JELF Loan.


Apply online between March 1st – April 30th, with your JELF Application and initial supporting documents-

For loan assistance to cover the following Fall, Spring, and/or Summer Terms.

Apply online between September 1st – 30th, with your JELF Application and initial supporting documents-

For loan assistance to cover the following Spring and/or Summer Terms only.


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