Jewish Journal


February 19, 2010

Congressman Berman Steps in to Help Unfortunate Israeli Couple



Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer, Daily News

Tragedy has plagued the Hen family numerous times over the course of the past two decades, leaving Avinoam and Rachel Hen depleted of hope and barely capable of maintaining a normal existence. Their 25-year-old daughter, Victoria, was killed in the 2002 terrorist shooting at LAX. She was an employee of El Al and was working at the counter at the time of the attack. Four months later, their son, Nimrod, died of injuries suffered in a car accident. He was 18 years old. Their one remaining son, Udi, is 30 years old and lives in Los Angeles.

Their latest woe involves the foreclosure of their Chatsworth home—a somber shrine to their two deceased children. The Daily News ran a long story on the hapless couple this week:

The mortgage crisis has spawned an untold number of hardship stories, but few could top that of Avinoam and Rachel Hen of Chatsworth, whose tale of personal woe and tragedy approaches that of the biblical Job.

Fortunately, the Hens have some determined and influential Jews fighting on their behalf. Raffi Tal, originally from Israel and a real estate default specialist with iShort Sale and Peak Corporate Network, has managed to delay the foreclosure of the Hen home more than once, including securing a one-month reprieve on Wednesday. Read the Daily News follow-up here.

But forestalling the inevitable is not a long-term solution, says Tal, so he and Eli Tene, also an Israeli native and the CEO of iShort Sale and Peak, are interceding on the Hens’ behalf to get their application for a loan modification approved, thus giving the family a chance to stabilize their precarious financial situation. Tene contacted Congressman Howard Berman to solicit his help, and Berman, according to Tal, yesterday wrote a letter and called the CEO of Wells Fargo Bank, acting as servicing agent for a private lender that has denied the Hens’ request.

Berman asked the Wells Fargo CEO to understand the urgency of the situation, according to Tal. Berman, who intervened with great passion and without a moment’s hesitation, has also reportedly contacted a director in the U.S. Treasury Department for assistance.

Less than two hours later, Tal received a phone call from the executive office at Wells Fargo, saying that they are working at finding a solution to the matter. “Their story completely broke me,” Tal said. “We’re doing everything we can to help them.”


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