If You Need Help

On getting and giving help in the pandemic: A Note with Resources from Rabbi Alter

The Siddur (prayer book) addresses God by almost countless names. Among the most evocative refer to God as our Source of Help: Support to the Stumbling; Healer of the Ailing; The One Who Sets the Trapped Free. The message is clear: We ought to turn to God for help in times of trouble. But as we are also to emulate God, we must do for one another as God will do for us. We must be God’s hands.

For those accustomed to helping others, it can be profoundly disorienting to discover that we are the ones who need help. The COVID-19 crisis is disorienting to all of us in every way. I feel with anxious certainty that members of our community – like so many beyond it – need help of various kinds and may need more help more urgently in the weeks and months to come. We at CBINT mean to be God’s hands to you. Our Chesed Committee is already – and will continue to be – deeply and quietly involved in these efforts. Some may want to seek help, though, in a still more private way.

IF, for example,

  • your home situation is volatile, unsafe, abusive, or overwhelming
  • your income has suddenly dropped or dried up and you are unable to meet your essential needs (food, clothing, rent, mortgage, car, cell phone / internet, medical expenses, utilities)
  • you (or someone in your household) are experiencing debilitating anxiety, depression, worry, or other mental distress
  • you need help equipping yourself for the present crisis (getting a face mask, stocking your pantry…)

There are resources available in the Milwaukee Jewish Community and within CBINT to address many needs. Strict confidentiality is assured. 

PLEASE be in touch with Rabbi Alter directly (at the synagogue at (414) 352-7310; on his cell phone at (617) 935-3772; or by email at RabbiAlter@cbintmilwaukee.org) or with Kevin Boland at Jewish Family Service (at the office at (414) 390-5800 or by email at kboland@jfsmilw.org).

More Broad Community Resources

  • Local Jewish organizations and businesses in our community who have not already applied should contact the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for assistance at 414-390-5700; a list of related resources is available at jewishtogether.org.
  • Jewish Family Services is open virtually to provide social service and mental health support for people of all ages. Emergency funds are also available through J-HELP for necessities like food and fuel. Contact JFS at 414-390-5800 or JFSMilw.org.
  • The Milwaukee Jewish Free Loan Association offers confidential, interest-free loans to people experiencing financial hardship. Learn more by calling 414-961-1500 or visiting MJFLA.org.

We all remain subject to the direct risk of exposure (and exposing others) to the Coronavirus. But the extent and magnitude of economic and other consequences of closures and isolation are yet unknown and uncertain.

Please be in touch. Look ahead. Consider your needs and whether you can reasonably meet them. And be in touch.

And if you have the capacity to help other members of the community in ways that Rabbi Alter or Hazzan Stein may not already be aware of, please be in touch about that too.

Be well, all!

Please be in touch with concerns or needs or just to talk:

RabbiAlter@cbintmilwaukee.org

HazzanStein@cbintmilwaukee.org