Torah of Israel: Fresh Start with Rachel Benziman
Shemitat k’safim—debt remission—is one of the Torah’s shemita (sabbatical) year mandates, allowing poor individuals who had borrowed money for their subsistence needs to have a fresh start. But how did that play out in practice, so that the lender was also protected? In contemporary society, does bankruptcy function as a type of shemitat k’safim? What is the impact of bankruptcy on lenders and on debtors and their families?
Fresh.Start is a non-profit, led by a community of lawyers with bankruptcy expertise and a social vision, offering working families who are motivated to get a fresh start in life a new and innovative debt recovery program. By disseminating information to the public, monitoring legislation and debt regulations, providing legal aid to civil society organizations, and conducting public lectures for thousands of people in Israel, Fresh.Start works to reduce and prevent debt and its grave ramifications.
Attorney Rachel Benziman serves as Fresh.Start’s policy and legislation consultant. Rachel Benziman is a graduate of the Hebrew University and of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Rachel is a professional human and civil rights lawyer who served as the executive director of ACRI – The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and as its legal director. She previously served as the legal director of IWN—the Israeli Women’s Network.