What is Jewish Chaplaincy:
It is spiritual care rooted in Jewish tradition with the intent to comfort people who are ill, dying or bereaved no matter what their affiliation or Jewish background. A chaplain does not meet someone to fix a problem but to accompany them in a challenging situation with an assumption that a caring connection can transform suffering through relationship and reflection.

Overview from the first year:
Jewish Social Services launched its new Jewish chaplaincy program in November 2016 with the hiring of Rabbi Renee Bauer as a quarter-time Jewish community chaplain.  Over the course of the year the Jewish community and the health care community has been introduced to Rabbi Bauer and have begun to refer clients to her. She has spent the majority of her time providing spiritual care to people in the community who do not have access to another rabbi. Her clients have included Jewish seniors, many of whom are in memory care, a homebound man with mental illness and a couple who was temporarily in the United States to welcome twin babies into their family. She has worked with a number of Holocaust survivors and a Russian émigre. Additionally, she has officiated at lifecycle events and provided holiday and Shabbat programing in senior facilities in the community. She has begun to lead workshops and plans to more of that in the coming year.

Testimonial from a client:
Rabbi Renee speaks at a bris
Photos of Rabbi Renee performing a double bris

“Rabbi Renee came to visit my Mom twice – both times, my Mom was sleeping, but our connection was instant. I was preoccupied with someone else’s care, lost in my own community, and Rabbi Renee offered a sense of belonging and Jewishness.

The third time Rabbi Renee visited, my Mom was in her new comfort space… We finally attached my Mom’s mezuzah to her door, and, together, we said the prayer over it.

Little gestures, big hearts, precious memories rekindled. I didn’t even know how to ask for these things, but am so grateful the connection still exists for my Mother and for me, within the Madison community. ”


When should you call:
When you or a family member are struggling with mental or physical illness or bereavement. When you want to reconnect with your Jewish heritage or to connect with the local Jewish community.


How to make contact:
(608) 442-4081(main)
(608) 424-4033 (direct)

Hear Rabbi Renee speak about Keeping The Faith: Religion and Immigration from the Carnegie Corporation.