Can you help?

January 10, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Sydney’s Jewish House has provided swift support this week to communities in NSW affected by bushfires, with the donation of 250 blankets to people displaced and sleeping in evacuation centres in NSW.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel

In addition, JH is calling for psychologists and counsellors in the local community to provide minimum pro bono support from our offices to people traumatised by this disaster.

CEO of Jewish House Rabbi Mendel Kastel commented: “We are devastated by the effects of the recent bushfires in Australia to communities, environment and wildlife. Jewish House has provided safety for people in crisis and their pets for more than 35 years here in the Eastern Suburbs.

Over the next six weeks, we are making clinical rooms available at Jewish House to psychologists and counsellors in the local community who would like to offer their services complimentary to people traumatised by the recent bushfire events. We are increasing our psychology and counselling services over the coming months through this partnership initiative to help more people in the community.

We encourage people affected by the recent disaster to speak to a professional; our crisis call line is open 24/7 by calling 1300 544 357, or people can speak with Lifeline on 13 11 14.”

Jewish House has released the below information to help the public deal with the impact of the bushfire disaster:

It is normal to experience some reactions after a traumatic event such as the bushfires whether they directly or indirectly affect you. Common responses include:

  • Intrusive memories of the event
  • Not wanting to think about what happened or not being able to stop thinking about it
  • Feeling more anxious than usual
  • Difficulty sleeping, maybe experiencing nightmares
  • Feelings of sadness, guilt or anger
  • Feeling generally depressed
  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Feeling constantly on guard or being easily startled
  • Loss of interest in things that you previously enjoyed


Advice for coping during this time:

  • Take it one day at a time
  • Breathe in deeply – slowly and focus on making the exhale as long as possible
  • Go easy on yourself and allow yourself time to rest if you need it
  • Spend time with people you love/trust/feel safe with
  • Talk about your feelings if you want to
  • Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water
  • Incorporate gentle exercise into your daily routine
  • Try to get back to your regular routine and activities as soon as possible
  • Remind yourself that you are safe now and that you will get through this and rebuild if necessary
  • Avoids drugs and alcohol


If you are a clinical psychologist or qualified counsellor and wish to make your services available complimentary to the community over the next six weeks, please contact or call 02 9386 0770.

Jewish House has been providing support to people in crisis since 1983. Services range from a 24/7 crisis call line, accommodation, psychological and social service management, pathway referrals to medical professionals and clinics, family mediation, and an early intervention children’s programs – JH Kids – which focuses on building healthy relationships between children and their communities.

For more information on Jewish House services, visit or call 02 9386 0770.

To donate to the Jewish Board of Deputies Emergency Appeal supporting people affected by the bushfires, click here

For additional mental health advice, visit


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