August 2019
Where the Holocaust Came To America
By Dawn Berney, Executive Director
How many of you know that from August 5, 1944 to February 5, 1946 the Fort Ontario Military Reservation served as "Safe Haven," the only camp or shelter in the United States for mostly Jewish victims of the Holocaust? Don’t feel bad, not only did I not know about it, but my husband who grew up just a few blocks from the fort in upstate New York, never learned about it until he was an adult. According to the Washington Post in 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced “that approximately 1,000 refugees should be immediately brought from Italy to this country.” Fort Ontario was chosen because Oswego, NY was the only community that agreed to take in the refugees. I happened to be in Oswego on August 5 th where I was fortunate enough to participate in the 75 th year reunion of the survivors. Nineteen survivors were there as well as hundreds of family members. Many of them spoke about what it was like for them hiding in Europe, escaping from concentration camps, and coming to the United States to be safe, but living behind barbed wire.

Several participants spoke about this reunion being the last reunion. Any future events will be to make sure that this story is not forgotten. I took this as a personal challenge. With everything happening right now related to refugees and immigrants, we must tell these stories and remember that we must welcome the stranger. In November I will be speaking at Lechayim about Safe Haven. I hope that you will be there.
Census Takers in my Neighborhood
Starting in 2019, you may begin to notice census takers in your neighborhood. This is a normal part of the 2020 Census preparation and data collection process. Census field representatives will also continue to collect information for the American Community Survey (ACS) and other ongoing surveys. 

Census takers will begin visiting homes in 2020 to collect responses from those who did not respond online, by phone, or by mail. At the same time, there will be other surveys ongoing, such as the American Community Survey, so there will also be census field representatives visiting homes for other reasons as well.
​How Can I Verify the Identity of a Census Worker?
​If you are visited by someone from the U.S. Census Bureau, here are some tips to assure the validity of the field representative:
  • Census takers must present an ID badge that includes a photograph of the field representative, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • Note that census workers may be carrying a Census Bureau phone or a laptop as well as a bag with a Census Bureau logo.
  • If you still have questions, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

​How Can I Avoid Being Visited at Home by Census Workers?
The best way to avoid being visited at home is to fill out your 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. Households will receive an invitation to begin participating in the census by April 1, 2020. This is the first time ever that you'll be able to respond to the census online! Sign up below for a reminder to take the 2020 Census.
Volunteers needed for the JSS 3 rd Annual First Responder-Refugee Meet and Greet Potluck

This event is a meet and greet for first responders and refugees in the Madison community. It is NOT open to the public. Event is from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

Sunday September 15th, 2019
Christ Presbyterian Church
944 East Gorham St
Madison, WI 53703

JSS is looking for 5 or 6 people to volunteer between 2:00pm and 5:30pm for the event. Please contact Paul Borowsky at (608) 442-4083 or .
From Rabbi Renee Bauer
It was a Jewish woman who wrote the famous words of welcome on the Statue of Liberty;

“Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,  
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,  
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 
--Emma Lazurus
These words, which represent, a vision and a history of welcome in our country are being undermined by current anti-immigration policies. As members of the Jewish community our tradition and history demand we stand up against this xenophobia. Jewish Social Services stands with HIAS in our concern over current immigration policies and invite you to take action to ensure that our country remains a safe harbor for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. 

Please use the links below to take action :
1) Tell the Administration to stop the newest efforts to ban asylum. **The deadline to submit a comment is Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.** Click here

2) Sign a Petition. Click Here

3) Volunteer at the Border with HIAS. Click here
Thank you to everyone who came to our 2019 Levy Summer Series. Our last event on August 20th is already sold out!

JSS is looking for a reliable vehicle for staff use when picking up refugees upon arrival in Madison and to drive clients to appointments .

If you have one, please contact Dawn Berney at or call our office at (608) 442-4081.
A tribute gift is a meaningful way to convey sympathy to the bereaved, memorialize a loved one, commemorate a special occasion or honor a person’s life and accomplishments.

Your gift to Jewish Social Services made in honor or memory of this special person ensures a legacy that extends far into the future.

It's time for Goodman Lechayim Lunchtime Plus!

Monday, September 9
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
11:30 am -12:30 pm: Complimentary Blood pressure check with nurse, Lori Edelstein
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Braised brisket, garlic mashed potato, market vegetables, mixed green salad, cake (Veggie option: BBQ Jackfruit)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: “Game Day,” interactive group activities

Monday, September 16
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Coconut curry chicken, safron rice, market salad, market vegetable, cookie (Veggie option: Coconut curry tofu)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Mad City Jug Band: unique and eclectic Americana music

Monday, September 23
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Braised balsamic chicken, roasted potato, market vegetables, cake (Veggie option: Balsamic jackfruit)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Mark Stransky – Original piano music in variety of styles on themes inspired by people and nature
RSVP for the BBQ by August 19th
Call our office (608)442-4081
Save the Dates from our Partners in the Madison Community

OutReach Magic Festival
Join the Jewish Community at Madison's PRIDE Celebration for 2019
Sunday, August 18, 2019
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Warner Park
Visit the Jewish Congregations for Social Justice (Shaarei Shamayim, Temple Beth El, and Beth Israel Center) booth at the festival.

Interfaith Blood Drive (WFVJ)
Join this lifesaving mission by donating blood or volunteering
Monday, August 19, 2019
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Lussier Community Education Center
Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote Ratification in WI (Hadassah)
Visit the exhibit at the State Capitol with historian Bobbie Malone, followed by coffee or lunch nearby
Thursday, August 22, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wisconsin State Capital