The Rabbi and I

October 28, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Star of the King and I Teddy Tahu Rhodes will depart from his operatic repertoire to include My Yiddishe Mama when he performs at a Jewish House fundraiser in December.

The King and I: Teddy Tapu Rhodes and Rabbi Mendel Kastel   Photo: David Sokol/J-Wire

The King and I: Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Rabbi Mendel Kastel Photo: David Sokol/J-Wire

With the event almost sold out, about 550 will hear the world-famous bass-baritone’s take on the well known classic.

J-Wire was present when the star of Opera Australia’s The King and I and Don Giovanni met Rabbi Mendel Kestel for a tour of Jewish House facilities in Sydney’s Bondi. He was introduced to a widow and her three young children who were staying in its crisis accommodation.

Teddy said he felt privileged to work at Sydney Opera House. “I am thrilled to help and see it as an opportunity to put something back into the community” he said.

Identifying a need to work around crises where people need immediate help, Jewish House runs a 24hour, 7day a week phone crisis line. Solutions might run from short term accommodation to help with more permanent housing as well as a variety of counselling services. The centre takes clients on a non-denominational basis.

“Crises come in so many different ways – from mental health and family problems, domestic violence through to job loss and becoming homeless. We are here to help with all that” said Rabbi Kastel.

“It is exciting to launch an initiative called Project 2500. This $6million project aims to help 2500 people over the next three years avoid becoming homeless by early intervention and help those who have to find long term accommodation.

The goal is to raise corporate and private funds to cover the project.  When someone runs into financial or other difficulties, early intervention can greatly benefit them and by association, governments and the community generally.

“As a rough guide, for every dollar spent on early intervention, the government saves $12-39. We already have a pledge of $1million and hope the evening will bring us closer to our goal. Project 2500 is a resonating, exciting and tangible way of helping the homeless “ said Rabbi Kastel.

Jewish House has created a 14 room house to provide a stable base in Bondi for three month stays. “We are building kennels so people can bring pets” he said.

Before he left, the singer said he was a bit nervous to be included in such company as Tom Jones and Jimmy Barnes who have performed My Yiddishe Mama. J-Wire is sure he is more than capable of meeting the challenge.

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