A bed at last

March 10, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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In Sydney’s Sun-Herald they slept on the concourse of the city’s Central Station. Today, in J-Wire they have a clean bed, fresh food and new clothes, courtesy of Jewish House.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel and Shane prepare to leave Central

Rabbi Mendel Kastel and Shane prepare to leave Central

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of the Bondi care organisation read in the  Sydney Sunday paper of the despair of Teresa, 35 and 44-yr-old Shane. He learned how Shane had to travel to a Korean church in Hornsby twice a week to receive

Packing up 'home'

Packing up ‘home’

food allotted to the homeless. Dinner on Saturday was a hot pie, hot cross buns and bananas.

Shane told the paper that they had been living like this for ten days following their eviction from a boarding house by police who claimed most of the occupants were ice addicts.

For Rabbi Kastel, the story in the Sun Herald could not have come at a more appropriate time. Tomorrow he launches a scheme to remove 2500 from homeless situations over the next five years.

Armed with a photo of Shane and Teresa from the Sunday tabloid, Rabbi Kastel headed for Central Station on Sunday evening.  He told J-Wire: ” I walked around the station several times before I spotted them. The next problem was winning their confidence and that took more than twenty minutes. Their initial distrust was only to be expected.”

Shane and Teresa pack their things into Rabbi Kastel's vehicle

Shane and Teresa pack their things into Rabbi Kastel’s vehicle

Rabbi Kastel drove Shane and Teresa back to Jewish House where they saw for the first time in a long time a freshly made bed, a kitchen with food at the ready and hot showers.

Rabbi Kastel continues: “Today our social workers have taken them clothes-shopping to K-Mart at Bondi Junction who had issued us with vouchers.”

Arriving at Jewish House

Arriving at Jewish House

Jewish House receives its food for the homeless from Our Big Kitchen, Oz Harvest and their own food collections which they organise with Coles Supermarkets.

In the Sun-Herald Shane and Teresa expressed their wish that one day the Premier would sleep out as they have been doing so he would clearly understand the plight of the homeless.

Rabbi Kastel had a similar wish: He said: “I wish the Premier would sleep at Jewish House so that he had a clear

Settling in at the JH refuge

Settling in at the JH refuge

understanding of what we do…and just maybe that would generate a little more support.”

Rabbi Kastel said that he thought Shane was about to hit the bottle, something he claims he had been off for a long time. He is now under the care of Jewish House counsellors.

Teresa and Shane are not Jewish. Rabbi Kastel expressed doubt they had ever come across a Jew before.

Residents stay at Jewish House normally for up to two weeks. During that time they are helped by Jewish House counsellors.



2 Responses to “A bed at last”
  1. phil Levy says:

    nice work!! Reb Mendel !!

  2. harry Rich says:

    I doubt that more than a handful of people, apart from readers of J wire , will
    have any knowledge about this. Publicity will do more than any defensive speeches to possible change the general attitude towards jews (and Israel )

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