Jewish Community COVID-19 Resources

Decade after decade, over centuries and millennia, Jews have embraced the blessing and the responsibility of caring for one another. When called upon to help, a Jew responds, “Hineni, here I am.” 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 deeply concerned and 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?

Mental health and social services

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. Funds are also available through J-HELP for emergency basic needs like food and fuel.

Social calls

People who are normally sociable are increasingly stuck at home, and people who are already isolated are becoming even more disconnected from their community. Milwaukee Jewish Federation employees, guided by Jewish Family Services, are making social phone calls to anyone who may be feeling isolated or in need of company. If you or someone you know would like a call, please fill out this online form. You can contact Cait Schmidt at CaitS@MilwaukeeJewish.org or 414-390-5741 for more information.

Free loans

Many of us will face financial challenges as the coronavirus impacts the economy and our own workplaces. Milwaukee Jewish Free Loan Association offers confidential, interest free loans to people who find themselves in a time of financial need. MJFLA offers confidential, interest free loans for any purpose. Learn more at MJFLA.org or by calling 414-961-1500.

Domestic violence assistance

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.

If you or someone you know needs help, please get in touch. Contact the 24-hour domestic violence hotline at Sojourner Family Peace Center at 414-933-2722 for Jewishly-sensitive assistance. You can also email the JFS clinic for more information at Clinic@JFSMilw.org. You will receive a reply within 24 hours Monday through Friday.

Passover Food Resources

Find out how to get Kosher groceries for Passover (free and for paid) or purchase catered Seder meals. See food resources.

Virtual Passover 2020

The Jewish community is bursting with virtual offerings – including virtual Passover Seders and services. Stay connected to Jewish life through these innovative celebrations.

What can I do to help?

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

Donate

Many of our Jewish agencies are temporarily closed, which means they are losing important income used to pay their bills. Make a donation to support organizations that make Milwaukee a great place to be Jewish. Give to the MJF Annual Campaign at MilwaukeeJewish.org/Give.

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.

Stay healthy

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

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

Museum tours 

Jewish Museum Milwaukee will be offering virtual opportunities to experience their exhibits.

  • Special exhibit: View a virtual tour of the museum’s special 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.

Mini-concerts

Congregation Emanu-el B’ne Jeshurun weekly Shabbat Sing, Fridays at 1 pm live on Facebook.

Hazzan Stein of Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid is performing mini-concerts on his personal Facebook page to help raise spirits and offer some virtual community. Sundays through Thursdays at 8 pm. To join, go to Facebook @Jeremy.Stein.1840.

Synagogue Services and Classes

Online services and classes from our community’s local synagogues:

Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid: Daily Minyan on Zoom at 9:00 am Sundays; 7:30 am Monday through Friday; and 5:45 pm Sunday through Friday. Kabbalat Shabbat service on Zoom Fridays at 5:45 pm and and Havdalah Saturdays at 8:00. Join Pre-Pesach classes on March 23, March 24 and March 26 and Intro to Judaism Class on Sunday morning at 11:00 am. 

Congregation Emanu-el B’ne Jeshurun: See Facebook for online services and classes. Watch Shabbat Sing each Friday at 1:00 pm.

Congregation Emanu-el of Waukesha: Find online services and classes.

Congregation Shalom: Find online services and classes. Join Mindfulness Mussar Monday’s with Rabbi Jenn on Mondays at 9:00 am for kids and 9:30 am for adults.

Congregation Shir Hadash: Virtual Song and Study on Saturdays at 10:00 am.

Congregation Sinai: Find this and more online services and classes. Join Congregation Sinai’s Facebook group for updates and events. Download a copy of their siddur.

Lake Park Synagogue: Havdalah Live on Facebook.

Lubavitch of Wisconsin: Find several online services and classes. Join Chabad-Lubavitch of Wisconsin for a virtual daily torah study.

Union for Reform Judaism: Weekly Torah podcast.

At Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC

Virtual coffee chat

College students can have virtual coffee chats with Hillel Milwaukee staff. Find out how.

Teen programming

BBYO has launched BBYO On Demand, a worldwide experience for Jewish teens. Learn more.

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.