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Announcing your 2023 Westfield Local Hero

We are excited to announce Rabbi Mendel Kastel from Jewish House as your 2023 Westfield Local Hero for Bondi Junction!

Westfield is proud to award a community grant of $20K to help Rabbi and Jewish House to continue to grow their impact in the local community

The 2023 Westfield Local Heroes program will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million to support local communities.

Nominations for the 2024 Westfield Local Heroes program are open now. If you know someone who's making an impact, nominate them as a Westfield Local Hero - nominate here.

Your 2023 Westfield Bondi Junction Local Hero is:

Rabbi Mendel Kastel

Jewish House

Enigmatic. Passionate. Supportive.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM goes above and beyond to provide hundreds of homeless people with accommodation and mental health care.

Mendel is the CEO of Jewish House, a Bondi-based charity that caters to the complex needs of people in crisis, irrespective of their background.

Mendel is passionate about the link between mental health and homelessness. He is also collaborative and has built up a symbiotic network of agencies with the expertise to give holistic support.

Under Mendel’s leadership, Jewish House has grown from housing 12 people a night to housing 100. It also provides hundreds of meals a week.

Once his team have housed and worked with a client, they usually find stable accommodation for them and help them find work.

The charity’s services include a 24-hour crisis line, psychological support, addiction support and play therapy for children.

In addition to leading a large team of employees and volunteers, Mendel serves as a mediator, visits people in hospital and provides pastoral care for the NSW Police.

Mendel feels honoured to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “Ultimately, the entire community benefits from our work, especially the marginalised and traumatised people who come to us for help,” he says.

Jewish House will use its funds to support an additional 10 people for three months.

We'd like to thank and acknowledge our finalists who will receive a $5K grant for the organisation they represent...

Ben Stammer from ReLove

Ben Stammer works tirelessly to give hundreds of women and children high-quality household items they need to escape domestic violence and start a new life. Ben is a co-founder of ReLove, a volunteer-run charity that rescues furniture and household goods for people to choose from in a free department store in Botany.

Michele Brandenburger from Cuddle Bundles

Michele Brandenburger is the founder of Cuddle Bundles, a National Council of Jewish Women program that gifts high-quality preloved babywear to families with limited means. No questions are asked, and every order is fulfilled with love and respect. So far, the charity has provided bundles for 800 babies.

If you need support, please phone Lifeline: 13 11 14

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We acknowledge the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people as the Traditional Owners of the land we gather on today and pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their Elders past and present.

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