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

2018 Levy Summer Series!

Tickets will go quickly, so register now for the 2018 Levy Summer Series!

Register Here


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

Upcoming Events

Navigating in the Wilderness of Family Caregiving: Spiritual Tools for the Journey @ First Unitarian Society
Jun 11 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Navigating in the Wilderness of Family Caregiving: Spiritual Tools for the Journey @ First Unitarian Society | Madison | Wisconsin | United States
Co-hosted by:  Congregation Sha’arei Shamayim and First Unitarian Society of Madison
Cost: Free and open to the public. Suggested donation – $10. 

Are you caring for a loved one as they age or helping them navigate serious or chronic illness? Do you think about how you will manage to care for family as you and they age? No matter where you are in the life cycle, it is likely that they have a personal connection to the topic of family caregiving.

Join us for a special evening of exploring the issues of being a caregiver with Rabbi Dayle Friedman, national thought-leader and practitioner on spirituality and aging.

Caregiving might be hands-on or long-distance – for a spouse, parent, or friend. When we care for a loved one, we often feel that we can never do enough – and we usually have multiple other responsibilities to juggle. It is easy to become exhausted or depleted. In our conversation, Rabbi Friedman will examine spiritual practices that can help us as we balance competing obligations, care for our loved ones, and sustain our spirits along the way.

This talk is for people from all faiths or no faith at all. Refreshments to follow the program.

Levy Summer Series – Rabbi Dayle Friedman @ Nakoma Country Club
Jun 12 @ 11:00 am – 2:15 pm

 “Finding Our Grit and Grace: Wisdom for Growing Older” – Rabbi Dayle Friedman 

Rabbi Dayle Friedman’s work is inspired by her belief and experiences in growing older as an opportunity in growing in depth and wisdom. She writes: “My sense is that the whole journey beyond midlife is a mysterious blend of light and dark, wholeness and fragility…. We have a chance beyond midlife to become the person we were truly meant to be. We can draw on everything we have experienced so far to contribute to the people around us and the wider world, and to find strength and resilience amid the challenges.”

Rabbi Dayle Friedman, MSW, MA, BCC, is a spiritual leader, social innovator, scholar, and author of Jewish Visions for Aging: A Professional Guide to Fostering Wholeness and editor of Jewish Pastoral Care: A Practical Handbook from Traditional and Contemporary Sources. She founded and directed Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Friedman offers training, consulting and spiritual guidance through Growing Older, her Philadelphia-based national practice.

JSS Executive/ Finance Committee Meeting @ Jewish Social Services
Jun 25 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Levy Summer Series – Professor Frank Tuerkheimer @ Nakoma Country Club
Jun 26 @ 11:00 am – 2:15 pm

Bronisław Huberman and the Heroic Origins of the Israel Philharmonic” – Professor Frank Tuerkheimer
Professor of Law Emeritus – University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison

Professor Tuerkheimer will describe a story of courage and perseverance. When Hitler came to power, he was quick to apply his anti-Semitic policies to music, getting Jewish musicians removed from German orchestras. The process was so abrupt that conductor Wilhelm Steinberg had his baton taken from him by Nazis who entered the opera house where he was rehearsing. It is a remarkable story of personalities and politics, and the key role of violinist Bronislaw Huberman, who formed this orchestra.

Through the last several decades Professor Tuerkheimer has taught courses, wrote and researched on many aspects of the law. As to service beyond the Law School and University community, Frank Tuerkheimer has worked on the Watergate Prosecution staff where he was in charge of the investigation into illegal dairy industry contributions and was chief trial counsel in the case against former Secretary of the Treasury John Connally. He has served as U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, where, among other things, he initiated a model Clean Water Act enforcement program.

Levy Summer Series – Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy @ Nakoma Country Club
Jul 17 @ 11:00 am – 2:15 pm

“Jews on Broadway and in Hollywood: Part II” – Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy

Love a great Broadway show or musical film?  Learn about the backgrounds and achievements of the Jewish talents who have dominated the stage and screen:  actors, singers, dancers, directors, producers, and composers. Featured actors include but are not limited to: Barbra Streisand, Yul Brynner; featured composers and lyricists include Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Lionel Bart, Bock and Harnick, Schonberg and Boublil, and the Gershwins. A multimedia presentation – Cantor Sharon is honored to be accompanied by pianist Ted Reinke and violinist Philip Tietze.

Before coming to Temple Beth El in Madison, Sharon served as Cantor at Congregation B’nai Israel of the Somerset Hills, in Basking Ridge, NJ. She had also served at Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, in Livingston, NJ and Temple Beth-El, in Saint Petersburg, FL for over 20 years. Cantor Brown-Levy is a member of both the American Conference of Cantors (Reform) and the Cantors Assembly (Conservative).

JSS Board Meeting @ Jewish Social Services
Jul 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Levy Summer Series – Professor Samuel England @ Nakoma Country Club
Jul 31 @ 11:00 am – 2:15 pm

“Medieval Arab Jewry beyond the Cairo Geniza”- Professor Samuel England
Associate Professor of Arabic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Faculty affiliate of the Middle East Studies Program, the Religious Studies Program, and the Medieval Studies Program.

We have a vivid picture of Jewish life in medieval Islamic empires, thanks to the Geniza collection of documents outside of Cairo. But very few of those documents speak to Jews’ roles in the elite courts, where policy and “high culture” were crafted. Not only did Jewish notables address the courts, they also actively participated in the Arabic literary and scientific work through which medieval scholars learned about the world. Professor England will explore how Jewish imperial subjects became embedded in Arabic literature during the thirteenth century.

Living in Egypt on and off since childhood, Professor England gained an appreciation for Arab cultures and the history of Abrahamic religions throughout the Middle East. His published research covers Classical Arabic poetry and prose, Crusades literature, Arab nationalist film and drama of the past century, and Romance-language treatments of Islam. He is the author of Medieval Empires and the Culture of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press, 2017). Currently, he is writing a book about the role of Classical Arabic in military regimes from the twentieth century to the present day.

Levy Summer Series – Professor Weijia Li @ Nakoma Country Club
Aug 8 @ 11:00 am – 2:15 pm

Jewish Diaspora in China: European Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II” – Professor Weijia Li
Director of Global Higher Education Master’s Degree Program, Assistant Professor of German, Faculty Affiliate: Center for East Asian Studies and Center for German and European Studies

From 1938 to 1941, more than 17,000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees, along with over 2,000 Polish Jews, fled from the Nazi terror to Shanghai, China. The refugees’ hope to use Shanghai as a temporary home until securing transfer to North America or elsewhere was soon wrecked by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the breakout of the Pacific War. As a result, they ended up spending a decade in China. Professor Li will describe his research of the Jewish refugees in Shanghai and their adaptation to a life in exile.

Weijia Li’s research and teaching interests include Chinese-German cultural encounters reflected in German literature, press, and art history. In 2010, he published a book on German Jewish writer Anna Seghers’s encounter with China in her life and works. He’s now working on a new book project on German and Yiddish writings on China by European Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII.