Kai Yael Gardner Mishlove


Executive Director

Kai Yael Gardner Mishlove is the new executive director of Jewish Social Services of Madison. She is the previous JCRC Director at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation where she was instrumental in starting the AAPI Jewish Alliance to counter antisemitism and anti Asian hate. She is a firm believer in the African Proverb: “It Takes a Village” and she acts on her Black and Jewish identity and faith by making sure that her life and work in the community is a meditation on G-d and reflects the Jewish concepts of Tzedakah, Chesed, and Tzedek. 

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Chris Shanahan


Associate Executive Director

Chris started with JSS as an independent accounting contractor in July of 2015, through her accounting firm, Computer Services, that is focused on a not-for-profit client base. After working and becoming familiar with the programs and services offered by JSS, she wanted to be more involved with the mission and delivery of those services to the clients of JSS. Therefore, in January of 2018, she came on board as the Finance and Human Resource Director, and then in April of 2019 she became the official Associate Director. Chris is committed to the JSS mission, programs, and development of programs.

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Maya Garbuz, MSSW, CISW


Director of Family and Senior Services

Maya Garbuz holds a Bachelor of Education from Lobachevsky University in Russia and Master of Social Work from UW-Madison. For the last 10 years Maya worked as a Lead Case Manager at Bridges for Families, providing services to families with children with disabilities. Maya began working as a case manager for JSS in November 2016. She provides services to seniors supporting them in applying for benefits and housing, assisting with referrals to community agencies, and advocating with landlords, various benefit programs and utility companies.

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Becca Schwartz


Resettlement Director

Becca joined JSS in early 2017 to head up the new Refugee Resettlement Program and considers herself very fortunate to have the opportunity to help newcomers establish themselves and become a part of the community in Madison. She is a Middleton native who spent over a decade working in various parts of East and West Africa. She earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. from Drexel University, before joining the Peace Corps where she started working in small business development.

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Paul Borowsky


Volunteer Coordinator

Paul Borowsky began as the volunteer engagement coordinator in 2016. Paul was the director of the West Madison Senior Center where he recruited over 100 volunteers. He has also done extensive outreach with Second Harvest Food Bank and the FreshMobile. Paul has his Master of Education and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Illinois-Urbana, and a Master of Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rabbi Renée Bauer


Director of Spiritual Care and Outreach

As Jewish Social Service’s director of chaplaincy and outreach, Rabbi Bauer provides the Jewish Social Services community with a Jewish spiritual presence and coordinates outreach and training for the Refugee Resettlement Program. Rabbi Bauer earned a B.A. in history and Judaic Studies from Brown University in 1996 and was ordained as a rabbi by Reconstructionist Rabbinic College in 2005.

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Mohammad Din Hajizada


Refugee Resettlement Case Aide

Mohammad Din Hajizada was born in 1997 and raised in the Kabul province of Afghanistan. He received his bachelor’s degree in English Language at Kabul University of Afghanistan in 2018. He worked at Ataraud Institute in Afghanistan for seven years, serving as a manager, senior advisor, and CEO. He also worked for MEP (Mission Essential Personal) as a linguist. 

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Gilbertine (“Gigi”) Harerimana


Refugee Resettlement Case Aide

Gilbertine (“Gigi”) Harerimana is a Burundian native who is fluent in Kirundi, French, and Swahili. In 2005, she received her technical diploma in management from a school in Bujumbara. For six years, she lived in The Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, where she worked as a child minder for The Resettlement Support Center Africa. She also worked with various ministries as a reconciliation facilitator.

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Benjamyn Deneen


Refugee Resettlement Case Manager

Benjamyn grew up in Evansville, WI. Before joining the JSS team, he worked for the International Organization for Migration and was part of Operation Allies Welcome and Operation Allies Refuge at Fort McCoy. He also worked for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and as a self-employed blacksmith and metal worker. He attended UW-Stout for Art Education and is a creative person at heart. He enjoys making sculptures and furniture, drawing, architectural and mechanical design, and being outdoors in the remote wilderness.

Gretchen Patrisio


Preferred Communities/Refugee Resettlement Case Manager

Gretchen joined JSS in March 2019 as a case manager for the new Preferred Communities Program, expanding refugee support services within JSS. She has worked in social services with diverse populations in Madison for over 13 years. She earned her B.S. in Human Services from Edgewood College. Gretchen has a passion for working with refugees, immigrants and serving the community.

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Duha Alhamidi


Program Assistant

Duha joined JSS recently in September 2022. Born in Irag to a Palestinian refugee family, she finished a degree in architectural design and worked as an architect for four years in Baghdad. Eventually, she travelled to Indonesia with her family, and worked as an IOM volunteer to help educate refugee children.

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Stephanie Taylor


Refugee Resettlement Case Manager

Stephanie joined JSS in the fall of 2021, after spending time volunteering at Fort McCoy with the Afghan Refugees who had come to Wisconsin.   This experience made her realize that working with refugees was incredibly important to her, and she wanted to get back to her Social Work roots after spending time as a Lactation Consultant and raising her young children.  

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Rachel Follett


Case Manager

Rachel joined JSS in September 2022 as a case manager for the preferred communities program. Rachel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development in 2011, and has been a Certified Child Life Specialist working in the hospital setting for the past 11 years. Rachel’s work at American Family Children’s Hospital ignited her interest in working with refugee families in the community setting. Rachel has two young children which keep her very busy! She enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and traveling.

Autumn Yael Fearing-Kabler


Housing and Community Outreach Coordinator (they/them)

Autumn Yael joined JSS in the Spring of 2022 and is grateful to be part of this phenomenal team. After many years of cooking professionally, they wanted to transition from hospitality to human services. They hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Environmental Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been engaged with community organizing and mutual aid efforts throughout their time in Madison.

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Sam Van Akkeren


Resettlement Programs Case Manager

Sam has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and History from UW – Milwaukee and a Master of Social Work degree from UW – Madison. He first joined JSS as an intern in 2018 where he worked to develop the agency’s strategic plan and aided in immigration related advocacy efforts. After graduating he was excited to rejoin the team to lead the development of a mentorship program and community-based mental health and psychosocial support groups for newcomers.

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Jim Mackman


Development Associate

Jim brings over 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit social services sector to his role at JSS. He was formerly a psychiatric case manager at SOAR Case Management Services and Tellurian UCAN Inc., a clinical specialist on the Dane County Jail Mental Health Team for Journey Mental Health, and a treatment specialist at Oakhill Correctional Institution. Jim has also served as a behavioral health group facilitator for multiple programs.

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Christina Kantor


Program Assistant

Christina has a background in public and community health. After working as a full-time domestic engineer for several years, she is delighted to be working as a program assistant at JSS of Madison. She enjoys knitting, spending time with family and her cats, and she loves homegrown tomatoes.

Jakob Heinemann


Office and Communications Manager

Jakob grew up in Madison, WI, completing his education at Lawrence University. Prior to working at JSS, Jakob lived in Chicago, IL, where he worked at another Jewish social services organization called The Ark. Outside of the office Jakob maintains an active profile as a musician, frequently performing in both Madison and Chicago. He also enjoys camping, travelling, and spending time with his family.

Kate Shenker


Kate is pleased to have joined JSS in early September as a Case Manager. She grew up in New York City and came to Madison years ago to attend UW majoring in Comparative Literature as an undergraduate and completing the Master’s Program in Social Work. She decided to settle here and raised fraternal twin boys.

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