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.

SBA Loan Support

In anticipation of the Federal government adding $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program for COVID-19, local Jewish organizations who have not already applied should contact the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for support. Call (414) 390-5700. We also encourage you to view a list of resources available at www.JewishTogether.org.

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.

Jewish Together

The Jewish Federations of North America has created a website, called Jewish Together, of curated resources and experiences. Whether it’s for yourself, your family or as a professional, we hope you’ll find what you’re looking for – from virtual national and global Jewish events and ways to connect, learn, share or help. Get national and global Jewish resources.

Friendly Caller Program

Are you in contact with older adults struggling with fear and isolation related to the COVID-19 crisis? Many older adults are dealing with loneliness and fear, and many are self-isolating to reduce risk of exposure and illness, causing intense feelings of anxiety and depression and further exacerbating 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

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.

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.

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.

Additional Helpful Resources from National Jewish and Secular Sources

The following resources are curated by Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s staff in our commitment to our work of caring for the needs of the Jewish people. It is a selection of valuable resources from national Jewish organizations as well as local and secular organizations to help our community navigate through the impact of the coronavirus. 

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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

At Friendship Circle of Wisconsin

Friendship Circle is offering many virtual programs throughout the week – everything from cooking classes to dance parties! See program schedule.

College students

Hillel Miwlaukee is offering a variety of online programs for college students. Learn more.

Teen programming

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

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.