Jewish Social Services of Madison has moved to bring employees together while serving all | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Social Services of Madison has moved to bring employees together while serving all 

Jewish Social Services of Madison has moved – just down the street – doubling its physical space to accommodate its growing staff of more than 20. 

The agency, which moved April 1, had grown beyond the capacity of its previous space. 

“Our refugee resettlement team, which is the largest department that we have right now, was housed in a different location than our administrative and our family, services, social workers and volunteers,” said Kai Yael Gardner Mishlove, executive director. “They were in a different building.” 

The new, combined space brings the resettlement team into Jewish Social Services offices on the west side of Madison on Enterprise Lane.  

Jewish Social Services was previously renting space at the Jewish Federation of Madison facility. Mishlove appreciates the Madison Federation’s support, and the two agencies still work together closely, but growth and some security considerations demanded the change, she said. Jewish Social Services has a staff of more than 20, mostly full time.  

About the agency 

“Our mission is to empower families and individuals across generations and across cultures, to build community and self-sufficiency, with a strong commitment to the Jewish community, inspired by Jewish values,” Mishlove said. The agency provides case management and Jewish spiritual care, among other services. Those served include Jews from the former Soviet Union, Holocaust survivors, people facing addiction, and those with long COVID. 

“We’ve had some pretty innovative programming this past year; we hosted a winter market bringing all of our refugee and immigrant artisans together. We had folks who were Ukrainian, Russian, Congolese, Afghan, Syrian, who came and showcased their art, whether it was jewelry, or whether they were doll makers, or culinary artists or bakers. We had a beekeeper who came,” she said. “We’re based in Jewish values. But we serve everyone.” 

She added: “Our goal is to provide culturally responsive support via our diverse staff who are experts in their field. We have staff from four continents, seven countries and over 20 languages spoken.” 

Mishlove said she wants to get the word out that refugee resettlement is an important aspect of what Jewish Social Services does, but it is not the whole story. 

“We’re known for refugee resettlement, because we’re the only refugee resettlement agency in south central Wisconsin,” Mishlove said. “But also, we provide services to seniors, and to folks who are at risk of homelessness and to folks who are disabled, and to folks who are from the Jewish community. We do so much.”