September 2019
Wishing you a New Year of Radical Honesty
by Rabbi Renée Bauer
When we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year marking the birthday of the world, it would seem natural for the Torah reading to be the story of creation. This tidy story of God creating the world in seven days would help us on this most holy of days to appreciate the grandeur and order of the world. But instead on the Jewish new year we read about messy human families.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we tell the story of Isaac’s birth and of Sarah’s jealousy that leads Abraham to cast Hagar and his first son, Ishmael, into the wilderness. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, we tell the story of the binding of Isaac, the disturbing tale of Abraham bringing Isaac as a sacrifice to God.

With these complicated stories of imperfect people, our tradition recognizes the truth about humanity and calls us to be radically honest about our lives. We may get dressed up, enjoy laughing with loved ones, and eat traditional foods at our Rosh Hashanah celebrations. Yet we also all arrive at Rosh Hashanah with our faults, our messy family dynamics, and our grief. We join together with hearts full of joy and gratitude, but also with hearts full of jealousy, anger, and fear. 

When the Torah portions reflect these complexities, we begin to understand that there is sacredness in the reality of our lives and not just in the lives to which we aspire. It is when we look at the fullness of our lives as they are that change can happen, that we can do the work of teshuvah, of turning back to our best selves.

May each of us be blessed this holiday season to have the courage to bring our whole selves to the reflection of this season and the compassion to embrace others in their fullness.

On behalf of the whole staff at Jewish Social Services I wish you shanah tovah tikatevu ( a sweet new year).
JSS to Assist Asylum Seekers at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Carrie Fox-Kline, MSW, our Immigration Legal Services and Quality Assurance Director will travel to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez next week. She will work alongside others as part of HIAS’ Border and Asylum Network. Carrie will teach asylum seekers about their rights and provide legal screenings to asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez.

We have successfully raised the $2,800 to fund Carrie's trip! Thank you to everyone who donated to make this possible!
Save the Date

Thursday Nov 7th 4:00-6:30pm: Volunteer Happy Hour at JSS.

Sunday November 17th : Luncheon event at the Blackhawk Country Club with Rabbi Eric Weiss from the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. Registration coming soon.
New Staff

In August, we welcomed two new staff members at Jewish Social Services. Rachael Wortzel and Christina Kantor are our fabulous new Program Assistants serving different areas of the agency. Christina works closely with Rabbi Renee Bauer on Chaplaincy programming, as well as putting together the Connections newsletter. Rachael assists the new Immigration Legal Services program, as well as other administrative tasks important to our continued work with seniors and the community in Madison.

We're so happy to welcome Rachael and Christina. Please be sure to say hello to them when you are in the office.

One of our clients is in need of a microwave and a lamp. If you can help please contact Maya Garbuz at or call our office at (608) 442-4081.
Thank you to West Towne Self Storage for donating the use of a storage unit to JSS!

If you are in need of storage space please visit their website
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 23rd
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

*Due to the many holidays in October, we only have this one date. Meals and programs for the rest of the season will be on most Mondays through mid-May.

Monday, October 28th*
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: Hickory smoked bbq chicken, tszimmes, couscous, fruit, rugalach (veggie option: Hickory smoked bbq seitan)
1:00 pm-2:00 pm: Retro Swing Band

November dates: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
Save the Dates from our Partners in the Madison Community

Sun Prairie Public Library Community Room
September 29th
From 2pm to 4pm

Annual Tzedakah Campaign Kickof f for Jewish Federation of Madison

Full Compass Systems 9770 Silicon Prairie Parkway
September 22nd
From 5:30pm to 8:30pm