It all started with five dollars.
Five dollars, and a compelling need for legal help in the community. And a Rabbi with a license to practice law.
Rabbi Stanley Levy became aware of a pressing need from Holocaust survivors and other Los Angeles seniors for legal assistance. Illegal eviction. Defrauded into debt. Denied access to deserved government benefits. Impoverished, elderly residents of Los Angeles were facing these problems alone.
He knew he could help them, but he couldn’t do it by himself. So he called on his long-time friend Luis Lainer, who held a similar passion for assisting those in need.
Together, they assembled a group of 18 friends – attorneys, social workers, law students and legal secretaries – each who decided to say, “Here I am to help.” Every person pledged five dollars each month to rent a storefront office on Fairfax Avenue, and give one night a week to improve the lives of the low-income and disadvantaged.
Now, over 40 years later, Bet Tzedek Legal Services is recognized as one of the premier legal service agencies in the country. Our staff is privileged to assist more than 20,000 individuals a year with legal problems such as caregiver issues, consumer fraud, employee rights, foreclosure matters, and much more.
Our impact stretches beyond the courtroom. For the thousands of clients we have represented throughout the years, it’s more than a case … it’s a chance to change lives.