Jewish Community COVID-19 Resources

Since 1902 the Milwaukee Jewish Federation has been here to care for the needs of the Jewish people — from the everyday to the extraordinary. And today, we find ourselves living in extraordinary times. As the COVID-19 pandemic expands, so do our community’s needs for connection and support. We know you are uncertain about the challenges we’re facing. We share your concerns and are here to help. We want to connect you, your friends, and your loved ones with important resources.

How can I get help?

HELP FOR PEOPLE

Emergency Funding

J-Help

J-Help offers crisis funding for individuals who need assistance with rent/mortgage, food, transportation, clothing, utilities (phone/internet), and other emergent needs. Call Jewish Family Services at 414-390-5800 for more information.

Free Loans

Milwaukee Jewish Free Loan Association (MJFLA) offers confidential, interest-free loans to people who find themselves in a time of financial need, for any purpose. Call 414-961-1500 or visit MJFLA.org.

Food

Chabad CAREs Kids Wellness Initiative

The Chabad CAREs Kids Wellness Initiative is a program offering Kosher meals for all children across the state free of charge. This program is open to ALL families with children under 18. Sign your family up. In the first week of Chabad CAREs new Kids Wellness Initiative, over five tons of food and milk were delivered to Milwaukee-area families. If you have any questions, please contact Lubavitch of Wisconsin at CARES@chabadwi.org or 414-961-6100.

Social services

Mental health

Jewish Family Services is open for business. They are available to meet the social service and mental health needs of all ages and stages of life. They are also able to meet the unique cultural needs of Jewish clients. Call JFS at 414-390-5800. Visit JFS’s website at JFSMilw.org.

Domestic violence

The combination of social isolation and increased societal stress caused by coronavirus creates an increased risk for domestic violence for many of our friends and family members. SHOFAR is an initiative of Jewish Family Services and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation that focuses on meeting the unique needs of Jewish individuals and families who are dealing with domestic violence.

Friendly Caller Program

Are you or someone you know struggling with fear and isolation related to the COVID-19 crisis? Self-isolation to reduce risk of exposure and illness can cause intense feelings of anxiety and depression and can exacerbate prior experiences of loneliness and isolation. Jewish Family Services (JFS) seeks to help alleviate this loneliness and isolation with a Friendly Caller Program. Calling hours are Mon. – Thurs. 8:30 am – 5 pm; Fridays: 8:30 am – 2 pm. Get in touch with JFS to receive a call or have someone you know receive a call. Contact info: Call (414) 225-1374; Email; Text: 414-376-0711

Late Life Counseling

As seniors age, the can face a wide range of physical and mental health challenges that negatively impact their level and quality of life. Jewish Family Services’ Late Life Counseling program provides seniors with convenient access to mental health counseling services in their own home, allowing seniors who are home-bound or otherwise unable to travel to community based locations to address their mental health concerns. Serving adults age 60 and older living in Milwaukee county. To schedule an appointment contact Adrienne O’Neil, Clinic Service Coordinator, at 414-225-1374 or aoneil@jfsmiw.org.

HELP FOR ORGANIZATIONS

Small Businesses

MJF has put together a one-stop-shop list of funding resources (local funding, national funding, reopening toolkits and checklists) for small business that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Reopening

Deciding when and how to reopen will vary based on the unique needs of each organizations and the people they serve. To help navigate the process, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation has created a wealth of reopening resources curated for our Milwaukee Jewish organizations. Visit MilwaukeeJewish.org/Reopen.

Secure Zoom Meeting Recommendations

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation recommends the following Zoom Setting methods for securing your meetings and webinars. Download the PDF Zoom protocol.

Friendly Caller Program

Does your organization have constituents who are struggling with fear and isolation related to the COVID-19 crisis? Self-isolation to reduce risk of exposure and illness can cause intense feelings of anxiety and depression and can exacerbate prior experiences of loneliness and isolation. Jewish Family Services (JFS) seeks to help alleviate this loneliness and isolation with a Friendly Caller Program. Calling hours are Mon. – Thurs. 8:30 am – 5 pm; Fridays: 8:30 am – 2 pm. Get in touch with JFS to receive a call or have someone you know receive a call. Contact info: Call (414) 225-1374; Email; Text: 414-376-0711

Health Tracking Dashboard

Follow the most up to date state data and trends with dashboards from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Additional Helpful Resources from National Jewish and Secular Sources

Jewish Federations of North America has created exceptional COVID-19 scenario planning tools to help Federations across North America plan for the future during time of great uncertainty. These tools are useful to organizations of all types, and we are pleased to share them here:

What can I do to help?

Stay healthy

Continue to observe the guidelines of the CDC for how to keep yourself and your family healthy. More here.

Stay informed

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle is sharing real-time information about the impact of the coronavirus in Milwaukee’s Jewish community.

Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Volunteer

If you would like to volunteer to make social phone calls to seniors and others who are feeling isolated, fill out this online form. You can contact Cait Schmidt at CaitS@MilwaukeeJewish.org or 414-390-5741 for more information.

Donate

As the center for Jewish philanthropy in Milwaukee, MJF is leading our Jewish community’s response to the coronavirus. We have launched a $2 million fundraising campaign called The Fund for Jewish MKE, a centralized source of support to benefit our whole local Jewish community.

Your donation to The Fund will offer critical help to our people – from caring for our elders to feeding the hungry. You’ll also give much-needed assistance to Jewish organizations that need our help now, and over the coming months, so our Jewish community comes out of the crisis as strong as ever. Give to The Fund.

How do I stay connected to Jewish life?

Many Jewish organizations are creating virtual opportunities to stay connected to Jewish life. These opportunities are developing quickly, so this is just a small collection of possibilities. We will add more to this webpage as they become available. If your organization has opportunities to share, please contact:

Cait Schmidt
414-390-5741

Milwaukee Jewish Community Calendar

The Milwaukee Jewish Community Calendar is a tool for planning events and for keeping a pulse on what’s going on in Jewish Milwaukee. Although the programming has gone virtual, there is still a lot going on in the community. Check out the Community Calendar.

#Summer5780

Check out #Summer5780, a summer resource site that lists tons of Jewish engagement opportunities for children, teenagers and young adults during summer 2020.

Synagogues

Find a complete listing and searchable directory to connect to Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform and unaffiliated synagogues in the Milwaukee area in our Guide to Jewish Wisconsin.

At Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center

  • Watch videos, access resources, and engage with friends and professional staff in the JCC’s virtual spaces.
  • Explore several activities by area of interest on their Facebook groups.
  • The JCC is prepared to welcome members back to their phyiscal spaces for the following services:
    • Self-directed fitness floor usage (WFB) June 1st- Learn More
    • Scheduled open/lap swim (WFB) June 1st- Learn More
    • Early Childhood Education (WFB & MEQ) June 8th- Learn More
    • Comprehensive Youth Summer Care (Fredonia) June 29th- Learn More
    • Jewish Food Pantry- Onging

Jewish Museum Milwaukee

  • New virtual exhibit: View “Fired Up: The Pottery of Abe Cohn”
  • View a virtual tour of the museum’s exhibit “The Girl in the Diary: Searching for Rywka in the Lodz Ghetto.” Click here.
  • Museum Moments: Join museum educator Ellie Gettinger for five minute chats about a story, artifact or image from the permanent exhibit or the archive. Visit Facebook @JewishMuseumMilwaukee at 2 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

A Guide to Jewish Wisconsin 5780-5781/2019-2020

A Guide to Jewish Wisconsin, known as the “Jewish Yellow Pages,” is your connection to Jewish arts, culture, education, camping and religious life.

How to Reopen

Each day of the COVID-19 pandemic presents us with serious new issues to tackle. Now, as talks begin about reopening Milwaukee, it is simultaneously unthinkable to go back to “business as usual.” Determining how to resume or more fully open operations can be overwhelming. 

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s internal task force, in planning our own reopening and strategizing how to assist the broader community, has had one guiding principle:  the sanctity of life, Pikuach Nefesh.  The safety of every human being is paramount and drives every decision. During these difficult times the Milwaukee Jewish Federation also has continually sought guidance from our mission:  to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people, enhance the quality of Jewish life and build a strong, unified Jewish community, especially through the provision of our leadership and resources.

We are collecting resources from public health officials, the Secure Community Network and others to guide the reopening process.

See more.