Jewish Social Services (JSS) has an incredibly long history of working in our community to help ensure that individuals and families have their basic needs met while helping them to be as independent as possible.
JSS traces its roots back to the “Jewish Central Committee of Madison,” established in the 1930s, and to the “Madison Welfare Fund,” created in 1940 to help resettle refugees in Madison fleeing the Holocaust. In the early 1970s, the Madison Jewish Community Council (MJCC) Senior Adult Committee designed a project which hired two part-time geriatric social workers to provide limited casework services and group activities for seniors in the Madison Jewish community.
In 1978, the geriatric social service staff became part of Jewish Social Services of Madison, Inc., and separated from the MJCC (now the Jewish Federation of Madison). JSS incorporated as a wholly autonomous agency with an independent Board of Directors, its own mission statement and by-laws, and a separate budget and operations. That same year, JSS became a participating agency in the United Way of Dane County and began serving the entire community. JSS is now also a member of the Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies. The agency in located in the Max Weinstein Jewish Community Building of the west side of Madison.
In 1978, we helped 152 clients; today, our social programs, nutrition site, case management, chaplaincy program and refugee and immigration services allow us to serve nearly 1000 annually. We pride ourselves on guaranteeing access to all, regardless of financial means.
Those we serve warmly express gratitude in letters, on surveys and in person. While historically, JSS has been fortunate to receive grants and support from government, community-based foundations and organizations, and private foundations, in recent years nearly half of our budget has been generated by individual and family contributions. These gifts are a testament to the importance of the work of JSS throughout Dane County.