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Jewish House

People and pets can stay together

Jewish House is one of the only services in NSW that takes in people struggling with homelessness, along with their pets.

CEO of Jewish House Rabbi Mendel Kastel has been taking in people struggling with homelessness and their pets.
CEO of Jewish House Rabbi Mendel Kastel has been taking in people struggling with homelessness and their pets.

Jewish House not only takes in people struggling with homelessness, but also their beloved pets.

From dogs to rabbits, cats to birds, Rabbi Mendel Kastel has provided shelter for them all over the years at Jewish House’s Bondi address.

It’s part of their pet policy called Project HoPe (standing for “homeless pets”), which was launched 10 years ago in partnership with Sam Kovac from Southern Cross Vet.

“It started with Sam Kovac, who was a student at Reddam when I was the rabbi there,” Rabbi Kastel told The AJN.

“When he opened his practice he wanted to put up a mezuzah and then asked what he can do for the community. I said Jewish House is looking after people who are struggling with homelessness and one of the things we haven’t really addressed is pets and this could be a really good partnership. That’s where it began.”

Jewish House is one of the only services in NSW that takes in people with their pets, while Kovac and his team offer vaccinations, guidance and support for their furry friends.

“There are people who won’t leave their home, or the street, or their car to move into accommodation if they can’t take their pet with them,” said Rabbi Kastel.

“Our approach is looking at the whole person not just their one problem – there’s a person who has a relationship with their pet.”

Eileen is currently staying at Jewish House and is so grateful to have her dogs Smoky and Minnie there with her.

“If I didn’t have them with me I’d be totally lost,” she told The AJN.

“It’s good to have somewhere you can have your dogs with you because they do help you get through what you’ve got to go through.

They’re like my kids.”

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