On Sunday, February 5, 2017 ninety-one people attended the showing of Milwaukee 53206 at Congregation Sinai. The event was co-sponsored by Tikkun Ha-Ir and the Social Action Committee of Congregation Sinai.
The film, produced by MICAH made it premier at the Milwaukee Film Festival this past Spring. It examines how decades of poverty, unemployment, and a lack of opportunity has contributed to the crisis of mass incarceration in this community, specifically in the zip code of 53206.
After viewing the film, Mark Rice, who is active in EX-Prisoners Organizing (EXPO) spoke about re-incarceration of former prisoners for “technical violations.” Mark further explained, “Former inmates can be sent back to prison because they borrowed money from someone, or missed a meeting with their parole officer because they couldn’t get off of work. They don’t get a hearing, they just get put back in jail until the court gets to their case. This could be from months to years.”
This gathering gave our North Shore community an opportunity, during Q & A the realization that this isn’t just a problem for zip code 53206, but affect the entire Milwaukee community.
Celebrate Purim and feed the hungry by sending Purim cards to friends and family through Tikkun Ha-Ir! Your donation will support Surplus Harvest efforts which gather leftover fresh produce and distributes it in a user-friendly format to Food Pantries and shelters around the city (see more info here).
The cards, designed by Cindy Cooper, are $5 per name. Please send in names by February 26th using our online sign up form. Donations can be made here
Tikkun Ha-Ir Delivers Holiday Gifts to 450 Homeless Persons in 2016
The Jewish community gave generously in 2016 to make sure people in Milwaukee crisis shelters had holiday gifts this December! Tikkun Ha-Ir has coordinated the Holiday Gift Project for over 11 years, this year working in partnership with volunteers from synagogues, community
organizations, and individuals.
Through collections and donations, we distributed approximately 450 gift bags to adults and children in 10 shelters. The gift bags held roughly 5 gifts for each adult and 8 for each child. Gifts included:
Outerwear such as hats, scarves, socks and mittens for the people most vulnerable to cold Wisconsin winds. Many of these items were hand knit by our community: special thanks to Chai Point resident Lilian Rakita and all the Knitters on a Roll!
Hoodies and pajamas to stay warm during the night
Books for babies, toddlers, new readers and older youth to feed kids’ imagination and build verbal skills. Special Thanks to Aviva Bergtrom for early-reader books
Toys for kids from birth to the teenage years since the holidays are a time for fun
Extra products for personal care, taking care of business, and expressing creativity, as well as candy, of course.
THI provided Giving Chanukiot to eight synagogues with paper candles with gift suggestions with the age and gender of the gift recipients. Congregation members took a candle, purchased the items and brought them to the synagogues’ gift collection bins. The gifts were then gathered and prepared for distribution. A special thanks to Deborah O’Connor, Kira Berkoff, Cindy Cooper, Reenie Kavalar, Susan Ellman, and Susan Armour Sideman for efforts in making the Channukiot, sorting, and packing the gifts! We are especially appreciative of Project Chair Reesa Gottchalk’s hard work!
A very special component of the Holiday Gift Program is the Holiday Party and Santa visit atCathedral Center.
Thank you to our Santa Shapiro and family, who delivered smiles and gifts this year to over 50 children, mothers and fathers on December 24 adding magic to the evening event.
The Jewish Community Center Chanukah Celebration provides an opportunity for Jewish children to help. This year, the youth filled festive bags with candy to make sure the holiday events had at least a spoonful of sugar. At Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid young people made sock cupcakes to include in children’s gift bags, and at Congregation Sinai, students help wrap toys.
We are especially grateful to Moshe Katz and ATID properties for donating a vacant apartment to store, sort and bag gifts for distribution. In addition, THI is grateful to Laura Emir for purchasing gift bags. The bags kept items clean and safe while providing recipients with a good receptacle for laundry, personal use and transport for the new year. This was a truly community effort!
With 8 days left of our Holiday Gifts for the Homeless Drive, we are asking our community to come together to collect and distribute gifts to families in homeless shelters or crisis programs.
This year, one of our goals is to give 200 hooded sweatshirts or sweatpants (in all sizes) to keep parents, children and youth warm during the long, cold Milwaukee winter. WE NEED YOUR HELP!
There are 3 ways to participate:
GO Shopping! Purchase a set of sweatshirts or sweatpants for a family – two extra large sizes and two small sizes.
Donate Money! If you donate money, Tikkun Ha-Ir will use it for a bulk purchase of sweatshirts and pants.
Do a team Project!Work with friends, family or work associates to help us provide 200 hoodies or sweatpants to homeless families. Set a group goal and either collect sweatshirts or do a bulk purchase. Tikkun Ha-Ir will pick them up and put them in one of the packages for each family.
This year, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Tikkun Ha-Ir is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving.
Last year, more than 45,000 organizations in 71 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday. Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities.
We invite you to join the movement and to help get out the give to the Milwaukee Community this November 29. Some ideas include:
Shana Tovah! I’m thrilled to introduce myself as the new Executive Director for Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee and am delighted to take on this new role. In these first months, you have all taught me so much about how THI helps address the many problems our community faces. It is humbling to discover all that Judy Baruch our Founding Executive Director, and Tikkun Ha-Ir supporters have created together and I look toward our future with optimism.
As a member of the Milwaukee Jewish community in my early years, I am reminded at how warm and supportive of a community we are. It is inspiring to learn how our congregations and at large volunteers have stepped up to care for the stranger in need among us. A commitment to pursuing Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is a vital way that we all take ownership of our Jewish identities and live out Jewish values. This passion will be the guiding principle as we work together in the years to come. Your continued investment will ensure that we continue to have resources to achieve this vision.
Tikkun Ha-Ir is a unique social justice partnership in the diverse Jewish community as well as an active member of a broad network of service organizations throughout the Milwaukee area. In this new chapter of Tikkun Ha-Ir’s work, we will focus on reaching out to Jewish families to help build a more just Milwaukee through study, action, and civic engagement. I hope to expand our capacity to strengthen and repair our city. In the upcoming year, we plan to:
Support those in need through our signature programs that serve the broader low-income Milwaukee community (see the attached overview of THI’s 2016 accomplishments and a flyer for the Holiday Gifts for the Homeless drive in November/December!)
Engage the next generation of Jewish families and young adults in addressing the needs of the people in Milwaukee who live in poverty
Strengthen our pluralistic Jewish space to learn together and act together around social justice issues affecting our city
We can’t help repair Milwaukee without your financial help. We ask you to donate now. Your donation will:
Ensure that families in poverty have healthy produce at food banks and meal program
Support female prison inmates to learn culinary skills to prepare for re-entry into the workforce
Provide Passover foods for low-income Jewish families
Support learning opportunities on important issues that impact our city
As Jews we have a responsibility to step up for those who are in need, to be good neighbors and to give back in a thoughtful way. Tikkun Ha-Ir is deeply grateful to donors like you who support our efforts in repairing our city. Please consider giving generously as we begin this new chapter in our story.