Jewish Social Services is a non-profit organization working to help Dane County residents get their basic needs met.

We offer services in the areas of short-term advocacy, long-term case management, Jewish spiritual care and immigration services. We serve people of all ages and backgrounds.

Contact Us

Phone: 608-442-4081 – Fax: 608-278-7814
6434 Enterprise Lane – Madison, WI 53719


JSS is currently initiating a new program, Community Action for Refugee Arrival (CARA).

Upcoming Events

Screening of “This is Home” @ Madison Central Library
Jun 17 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The June 17th event is a screening of the award-winning film, “This is Home,” followed by a panel discussion with Madison residents of refugee background and resettlement staff. “This is Home,” follows four Syrian refugee families as they are resettled in the US.

Sponsored by Jewish Social Services and Madison Refugee Union. Free and open to the public, light refreshments provided Tickets available at

World Refugee Day Town Hall @ UW Hillel
Jun 20 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The June 20th event is a town hall-style event on what it’s like to come to Madison as a refugee. There will be a panel discussion as well as some time for Q&A.

Levy Summer Series – Charles Cohen @ Nakoma Country Club
Jun 26 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Charles Cohen

Professor Emeritus, Department of History, E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions Founding Director for the Lubar Institute for the Study of Abrahamic Religions – UW Madison

Jews and Muslims in Christian America”

The United States has been defined in various ways as a “Christian nation”; if so, how do Jews and Muslims—whose understandings of such things as sacred space, sacred time, food, and the religious meaning of the state, can be quite different from those of Christians—fit into American society?

Professor Emeritus, Charles Cohen will discuss this in his talk entitled, Jews and Muslims in Christian America. Professor Cohen is the E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions. He teaches at UW Madison in the Departments of History and Religious Studies. Professor Cohen was Founding Director the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions, whose mission is to create better understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by encouraging ongoing discussion of these traditions and their interrelationships.. His book, “Abrahamic Religions: A Very Short Introduction,” will be published in late 2019 by Oxford University press.

Lunch: Nakoma Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Artisan Rolls and Butter, Grilled Salmon with Mango Pineapple Salsa, Wild Rice and Asparagus or Vegetable Napoleon. Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Sundae with Fresh Berries

Levy Summer Series – Carousel Bayrd @ Nakoma Country Club
Jul 10 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Carousel Bayrd

Attorney & Partner, Herrick and Kasdorf Supervisor, Dane County Board

“Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice: Reforming the System”

Over the last 13 years, Carousel has authored legislation addressing criminal reform, racial justice, immigrant’s rights, women’s rights, and mental health services. She also hosts “A Public Affair,” an in-depth current affairs talk radio show every Tuesday on WORT. Previously, Carousel was the founding coordinator of YWCA Madison’s Municipal Restorative Justice Initiative, the first of its kind in the nation to remove youth from the criminal justice system. Carousel’s family were long-time members at the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel of Los Angeles. She grew up in both Los Angeles and New York. Carousel’s talk will cover various facets of the criminal justice system – from policing to the courts to incarceration. She will offer details about alternatives to incarceration that are already working in Wisconsin, including the very successful Restorative Justice Initiative in Madison that is keeping youth out of the criminal justice system, and Dane County’s innovative study on bail reform. Carousel will also respond to the question: How we can make changes in every area and address the root causes of racism within the system? She will end with suggestions on how community members can get involved and help move reform in Wisconsin.

Lunch: Tomato Basil Soup, Artisan Rolls and Butter, Baked Cod with Lemon Brown Butter, Wild Rice with Spinach and Mushroom or Vegetable Phyllo with Marinara and Crème Fraiche.

Dessert: Door Country Cherry Pie a La Mode

Levy Summer Series – Larry Kohn @ Nakoma Country Club
Jul 24 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Larry Kohn

Education Director of Temple Beth El from 1979-2014

And the Fine Blade Gleamed with the Fury of Live Coals: Twentieth Century Poets Confront the Akedah”*

The Torah’s story of the sacrificial binding of Isaac (Akedah) has been addressed by a number of Twentieth Century American, Yiddish and Israeli poets. The Akedah (Genesis 22) will be read in English translation along with a sample of Rabbinic and contemporary Torah commentary. This will be followed by a reading and discussion of poems in English or English translation written by Anthony Hecht, Marge Piercy, H. Leivick, Hayim Gouri, Amir Gilboa and Yehuda Amichai.

As Education Director of Temple Beth El, Larry Kohn facilitated the temple’s Shabbat morning Torah study for the last two decades of his tenure. Beginning in 1976 a dozen of Larry’s poems under his given name, Lawrence, have appeared in small press publications including Green’s Magazine, Response: A Contemporary Jewish Review, The Journal of Reform Judaism and Neo-Victorian/Cochlear edited by Esther Cameron in Madison.

* Title quote from: “Isaac” in The Darkness and the Light by Anthony Hecht, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 2002

Lunch: Quinoa and Spinach Salad (with Chickpea, Tomato, Egg, Feta, Artichoke, Olives, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Artisan Rolls with Butter, Baked Tilapia, Cucumber-Red Pepper Relish, Roasted Baby Red Potatoes and Green Beans or Vegetable Quiche. Dessert: Tiramisu

Levy Summer Series – Marion Usher @ Nakoma Country Club
Aug 6 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Marion Usher

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry – George Washington School of Medicine and Behavioral Sciences – Washington, D.C.

One Couple Two Faiths: Stories of Love and Religion: A Program Addressing Interfaith Couples and Families”

Dr. Marion Usher joins us to discuss her new book, “One Couple Two Faiths: Stories of Love and Religion,” a guide to interfaith relationships. Through her workshop, “Love and Religion; A Workshop for Jews and Their Partners,” Dr. Usher has worked with over 700 interfaith couples in the past 25 years. Her workshop is conducted on an on-going basis in 10 cities across the country. Her DVD and manual illustrating her workshop model premiered at the Washington DCJCC Film Festival in 2009 and can be seen on her website:

She will share her observations of the changes occurring in our Jewish community and the work that still needs to be accomplished in becoming an inclusive community. Dr. Usher consults with synagogues, and JCC’s helping them to develop creative programming for interfaith couples and families. At George Washington University, she helped develop the Family Therapy training program for residents in psychiatry. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Week, Sh’ma, The Washington Post, The Washingtonian,, and On Faith.

Lunch: Fresh Fruit Plate, Artisan Rolls and Butter, Sea Bass with Toasted Kale Beurre Blanc, Cous Cous with Butternut Squash or Goat Cheese and Spinach Strudel, Dessert: Cookie and Bar Platter

Levy Summer Series – Stu Levitan @ Nakoma Country Club
Aug 20 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Stuart Levitan
Author and Journalist

Madison in the Sixties – Jews in the News

Madison historian Stu Levitan will discuss the influence of Jewish students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin, anti-Semitism, and the local progress for civil rights, in a talk adapted from his new book Madison in the Sixties (Wisconsin Historical Society Press).

Stu Levitan is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, a former Dane County Supervisor, and long-time leader of several city land use commissions. Descendent of several generations of Orthodox Lithuanian Rabbis, Stu graduated from the UW Law School, and retired in 2015 after 27 years as a state labor mediator/arbitrator. Stu is also vice president of the board of listener-sponsored community radio WORT-FM, and hosts Access: City Hall on the Madison City Channel.

Lunch: Caprese Salad, Artisan Rolls and Butter, Red Snapper with Tomato Caper Beurre Blanc, Green Beans and Barley Pilaf with Steamed Carrots and Asparagus or Angel Hair Pasta Tossed with Asparagus, Basil, Garlic in Plum Tomato Sauce and Cheese, Dessert: Rainbow Sherbet with Pirouline Cookie