Anne David, LCAW, MSW, Director, Clinical Services describes Jewish Family Services’ response to the increased need for mental health services in this article featured in the August 2021 issue of the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.

Use this link to view the complete post.

When the pandemic hit, Jewish Family Services geared up 


A message from Jennifer Ciralsky, Board Chair and John A. Yopps, President & CEO 

Stay at Home Order – No Change to Jewish Family Services’ COVID-19 Precautions

 In early March, Jewish Family Services implemented a COVID-19 emergency response plan that included transitioning all but essential staff to work from home and converting the vast majority of in-person client contacts to phone calls or video conference formats and when necessary, a limited number of face-to-face visits with  clients and at our offices.

 We continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services and other institutions to inform our decision on the best policies and practices to protect the public health and that of our staff and clients.

Although Gov. Evers’ Safer At Home order has been overturned, we want you to know that this causes no change to Jewish Family Services’ COVID-19 plan. Our main administrative and clinic offices at 1300 N. Jackson Street, Milwaukee, WI remain closed to in-person clients, with limited exceptions, for the indefinite future.

 We will continue to assess how Jewish Family Services responds to the COVID-19 crisis and the prudent next steps to provide services to our clients and the community while maintaining public safety.

We appreciate your ongoing support of JFS and our mission of caring for our community.

Jennifer Ciralsky, Chair                                     John A. Yopps, MS, ACHE
Board Of Directors                                              President and CEO
Jewish Family Services, Inc.                             Jewish Family Services, Inc

As friends and supporters of Jewish Family Services, we hope you are well and staying safe at this time.  The onset of COVID-19 has changed so much in our community since we first announced our Hope, Help and Healing Gala back in February.  Due to growing public safety concerns and the need to self-shelter, we considered postponing initially, but with no clear end in sight, our planning committee has come to the decision to cancel the event that was scheduled on June 4, 2020. We hope to be able to host a similar gala event a year from now in June 2021.


Even though we have cancelled the event for this June, we still ask for your support at this time.  Currently, Jewish Family Services is the only Jewish social service agency in our community that is open and operational during the COVID-19 crisis.  We know that the individuals we serve – including seniors, adults with disabilities and low-income families – are extremely vulnerable during this pandemic.  The vast majority of in-person contacts have been converted to phone calls or video conference formats. When necessary we continue a limited number of face-to-face visits to client homes. Over the last few weeks, referrals for our services have increased from Jewish Clergy, friends, families and other professionals.  Therefore, your support is critical to help us meet the community need that is greater than ever during this crisis.


During this period of great uncertainty, we remain strong in our commitment to serve those who rely on our services.


In light of the event cancellation, we ask you to consider making a charitable contribution to support our mission and services during the COVID-19 crisis. You can make a secure online donation on our website at


These are times, unlike any of us have experienced before and we look forward to this crisis being resolved.  Until then, take care. Know that we deeply appreciate you support today and in the future.

Accepting New Clients!

Telemental Health Services Appointments Available

Jewish Family Services’ Outpatient Mental Health Clinic has immediate openings for Telemental Health Services with licensed professionals in psychotherapy, psychiatry, psychiatric medication management and social services.

Our clinical practice advances a holistic approach with each client, helping individuals, families and children achieve stability, emotional healing and mental well-being.

Jewish Family Services has a solid reputation for serving clients with chronic mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, mood disorders, anger, grief, trauma, adjustment disorders, ADHD/ADD, and experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence.

  • Individual, Child and Family Counseling: A client-centered approach identifies the problems that effect a client’s ability to function. An individualized treatment plan with unique goals and specific treatment is developed to help the client reduce symptoms, improve functioning and achieve well-being.


  • Psychiatric Medication Management: Managing the effective use and response to prescribed psychiatric medications in conjunction a client’s therapeutic interventions. We accept CCS clients, persons seeking services outside of their care network and those under the care of other mental health providers.


  • Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: Specially trained clinicians provide sexual assault and trauma related counseling.


  • Grief Counseling: One-to-one sessions help individuals address the physical, emotional, and social challenges experienced in responses to loss.


  • Couples Counseling: Processing Emotions and Communicating Effectively (PEACE): Helping parents resolve deep conflicts and improve communications skills. Reducing the negative impact of parental conflicts on the children, building consensus in co-parenting and creating a healthier family dynamic.


  • Late Life Counseling (For Seniors): Services for adults over the age of 60, who live in Milwaukee County and have physical and/or emotional problems which limits their ability to seek outpatient services.

Understandably, many older adults are dealing with loneliness and fear related to the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, many older adults are self-isolating in order to reduce risk of exposure and illness, causing intense feelings of anxiety and depression and further exacerbating prior experiences of loneliness and isolation. “Friendly calls” are being offered to older adults in Milwaukee County who are at increased risk for depression and anxiety due to increased social isolation and stress related to the COVID crisis. Master’s prepared staff, clinical interns and volunteers are available to provide 15-30 minute calls to older adults in Milwaukee County identified by MCDA and community partners as in need of this service.

To refer an Older Adult for Friendly Calls:
Call: 414-225-1374
Text: 414-376-0711
Hours available for calls:
Mon. – Thurs. 8:30am to 5:00pm
Fridays: 8:30am to 2:00pm

A Message from Jennifer Ciralsky, Board Chair and John A. Yopps, President & CEO

Caring for Our Community

Jewish Family Services, Inc. (JFS) has long been part of the fabric of our community, a distinguished and multi-faceted legacy committed to Chesed, Tzedekah and Tikkun Olam. JFS remains dedicated to these values and believes the health of our community, families and colleagues is paramount at this time. With the presence and threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are announcing the very difficult decision to close our main administrative site at 1300 N. Jackson Street, Milwaukee, WI to all but essential staff for the indefinite future. This is effective Tuesday, March 24.

Our programs, services and essential functions will continue to operate through virtual platforms for meetings, services and supports. We have put policies and contingency plans in place to continue operations and will adapt as needs, priorities and circumstances demand. We have enhanced our communication capability so that we can keep our clients, staff and the community informed, and to ensure our services and supports remain available and accessible. There are many who rely on JFS and being able to say that we will be here for you means everything to us. When the current threat subsides and our community and city begin to recover, we will review reopening our building and resuming services as usual.

Although our building might not be open, we continue to provide Hope, Help and Healing for those we serve, the community and those in need. JFS is not defined by a place or building, our mission is rooted in people, caring and serving – and lives through our staff, board, donors, volunteers and advocates. We appreciate your ongoing support of JFS and our mission of caring for our community.

L’ Shalom,

Jennifer Ciralsky, Chair                                     John A. Yopps, MS, ACHE
Board Of Directors                                              President and CEO
Jewish Family Services, Inc.                             Jewish Family Services, Inc.