The Rabbi and the desalination plant

September 29, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In a NSW Parliamentary speech on the drought, NSW Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord cheekily told a friend that The Jewish House’s Rabbi Mendel Kastel can still continue to pray for rain, but we also have to upgrade the Sydney Desalination Plant.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel and Walt Secord

Mr Secord, who is also NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair was speaking about Labor’s in-principle support for upgrading the desalination plant, which turns ocean water into drinking water as the State is gripped in drought.

Currently, the desalination plant is providing 15 per cent of Sydney’s drinking water.

Today,  Sydney dam levels have dropped to 49.1 per cent of capacity.

Mr Secord told State Parliament on September 25 about a recent tour of the desalination plant and his subsequent appearance on television – where he said that we have to do more than pray, we also have to make plans.

Walt Secord

In response, Rabbi Kastel, jokingly contacted Mr Secord that evening to say: “Walt, are you throwing me under a bus?”, pointing out that prayer was one of his core activities.

In State Parliament with tongue-in-cheek – Mr Secord said: “Earlier this year on Sydney television I said in the past people prayed that it would rain, but we need a plan and that’s what we are supporting. My good friend Rabbi Mendel Kastel, whom I have known for 30 years, made contact and remarked, `Walt, are you throwing me under a bus?’ He was referring to his core business of promoting prayer. I replied, `No, not at all’. This is because the two propositions are not mutually exclusive. In the past, we prayed for water because there was no other alternative. In Sydney today we have the alternative and we have the capacity to plan, but rain itself is better than any desalination plant.

Therefore I say to Rabbi Kastel or any person of faith, `You can still pray for it to rain. In fact, please do, but we must also plan to help ourselves where we have the capacity.’

All that reminds me of an old joke about the man who regularly bemoaned to his rabbi that, while he continues to pray, he never wins the Powerball. Then the rabbi says to him, `You have to give me a chance. For a start, you have to buy a ticket’. Let us say to the people of New South Wales of various faiths, “Pray for rain, but let this Parliament plan for the reality we see in front of us.”

Mr Secord said he had been advised that initial plans to double the desalination plant was being finalised and a decision by the Berejiklian Government is expected in April 2020.

NSW Labor wants to see the modelling on the costs of the expansion – but it advised that it was willing to work with the Berejiklian Government to secure Sydney’s water supply.


One Response to “The Rabbi and the desalination plant”
  1. ben gershon says:

    some us remember when Joh of Qland told us to pray for rain .a week later we had floods


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