March 2020


In light of the public health emergency we are currently under, JSS would like to make you aware of some cancellations:

  • Cancelled -- Lechayim Lunch scheduled for March 16th
  • Cancelled -- Shabbat at Oakwood Village scheduled for March 20th

Due to the number of events and programs being cancelled JSS is concerned for seniors and others who may be socially isolated during this time. Please let us know if you or someone you know would like friendly phone calls check-in OR if you are someone who could volunteer to be a friendly caller. Please email Paul Borowsky at if you are interested in either of these.

Do you have acccess to the internet and speakers? JSS is looking at options for having Lechayim performances via the internet (webinar). Please email Rachael Wortzel at if you have the technology and are interested in participating.

As we continue to monitor this public health crisis, we think about some of JSS’ most important principles and what they include:
  • Our Clients Well-Being
  • Our Staff Well –Being
  • Our Community Well-Being
  • Our Fiduciary Responsibility to our clients and donors

Our team will continue to work during this public health crisis, though it will be more via telephone and email than usual. We are also are working to keep our website and Facebook page up-to-date. Please check those often to learn if we have additional changes.

Caring for Each Other in this Time of Crisis

By Paul Borowsky
JSS Volunteer Engagement & Events Program Manager

Thanks to youth at Shaarei Shamayim, JSS staff, and some very dedicated volunteers – who made visits to many people around town who normally don’t get out for Purim celebrations or other activities and delivered Purim baskets with hamantaschen, a few other treats, and holiday cards. A few days after these visits I got a call from a daughter who wanted to thank us for the visit to her mother. It’s been a bittersweet holiday for their family this last twenty years, as it has been that long since her father passed away close to the Purim holiday.

Recently, my father passed away. It wasn’t something that was unexpected, but always seemed like something that somehow wouldn’t happen, or would always be off in the distance. No dedicated volunteers, young or old, social workers or Rabbi can make the troubles of life and death go away. Or keep us from the inevitable loneliness that comes with facing these challenges. It can become a time for reflection on who you are and what that means. All through the process, I had support of family and friends. JSS staff and volunteers has seamlessly become a part of that family and friend support network. The kindness and community me and my family were shown did not alter the cycles of life and death, but it is the best medicine for thriving and surviving the journey.

As course of events in relation to COVID-19 virus unfolds, we want to be ready to respond in a positive way. We may have times where we will be asked, or choose to, limit in-person contact and/ or events. Realizing the importance of keeping in touch, we urge all who may be in need or using services of JSS to contact us so that we can find out from you what is the best possible way to keep in touch with you. We also ask our existing volunteers and others to let us know if we can call on you to assist in keeping in touch by phone, email, and Facebook or if you are able to deliver something that is need to members of our community.

Call to give contact info and have us check in on you, friend, or family member: Jim Mackman, , or 608-442-4081

We encourage you to volunteer to become "Friendly Callers" and to call our clients who are now very isolated. Please check for additional volunteer opportunities: Paul Borowsky, , or 608-442-4083

Updates and information about COVID-19 virus from Public Health, Madison and Dane County:
Home Delivered Meals

For Madison area residents, if you have an underlying health condition (the CDC defines underlying health conditions as heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, diabetes, and any other chronic condition with a suppressed immune system) and will not be able to obtain food without your meal site call SSM Health (608) 276-7598 to request Home Delivered Meals . Middleton area residents: call Candice Martin at (608) 512-0000 Ext. 4006.
Because of COVID-19, Celebrate Refugee Shabbat with JSS will not be happening at this time
STEPPING ON: Fall Prevention Class

For Seniors, A Fall Could Change Everything! 

One in four people age 65 or older has a fall each year. You don’t have to be one of them. Participating in a “Stepping On” class can help you avoid a dangerous and costly fall so you can keep doing the things you love to do. The class has been researched and proven to reduce falls by 30%!

In just seven weeks, you’ll learn:
• To identify and remove or avoid fall hazards in your home
• How vision, hearing, medication and footwear affect your risk of falling
• Strength and balance exercises you can adapt to your individual level
• How to get back to your feet the right way if you do fall

Where: Jewish Social Services (6434 Enterprise Lane, Madison WI 53719)
When : Thursdays April 23rd- June 4th 1:00-3:00pm
Cost: $35 (Scholarships are available)
Registration: Please email or call (608) 442-4081

Sponsored by JSS and the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging
JSS Wish List

BUS PASSES: The Resettlement Team needs Madison Metro 10-ride passes for both adults and youth. We give them to every new refugee arrival. They can be purchased online at OR call (608) 266-4466).
For a list of locations where passes can be purchased in person:

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS: Help JSS clients by purchasing items from our Amazon Wishlist at   (Call the office at (608) 442-4081 for help making Amazon purchases).

GIFT CARDS FOR HOUSEHOLD NEEDS: Gift cards from Kohls, Woodmans, Walmart or Target are an easy and effective way to help our clients.  

Bus passes and gift cards can be mailed or dropped off at JSS anytime we are open
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.

(NOTE: We are still waiting to decide about Lechayim programming between now and Passover. Please check back with us if you have any questions.)

It's time for Goodman Lechayim Lunchtime Plus!

Monday, March 23rd
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Vegetarian lasagna, Italian dressing with iceberg salad, rolls, fruit, dessert
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: “From Holocaust to Civil Rights” presented by Simon family siblings

Monday, March 30th
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Hickory smoked chicken, whipped potato, vegetable medley, fruit, birthday cake Turkish coffee rubbed tofu (veggie option: Turkish coffee rubbed tofu)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: “How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted,” presented by Madeline Uraneck

Monday, April 6th 
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: Peri Peri chicken, herbed rice, harissa carrots, fruit, brownie (Vegetarian option - Peri Peri tofu)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Madison Area Ukulele Initiative (MAUI)

No Lechayim on April 13 because of Passover

Monday, April 20th
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Herb roasted chicken, basmati rice, vegetable medley, mixed greens salad, fruit (Vegetarian option: Herb roasted jackfruit and garbanzo beans)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: “Perspectives on Guatemala,” presentation by Karen Shevet Dinah

Monday, April 27th
11:30 am-12:00 pm: Yoga from a chair with Betsy Haimson
12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Hickory smoked BBQ chicken, fingerling potatoes, green beans, fruit, birthday cake (Veggie option: BBQ tofu)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: “Independence Day Celebrations and our lives in Israel,” presentation by Danielle Man and Gal Ben Yishay

Next month dates: May 4th and 11th
There is no Lechayim Lunch in June, July or August.

Monday, April 20, 2020 from 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Temple Beth El 2702 Arbor Drive