Rabbi Mendel Kastel

“...with God to able to set me on my path of my daily work is so very important.”

I was born in New York, United States of America in 1968.
I arrived in Australia in January 1988.

Jewish culture to our local area

The Jewish community is a big part of the local area, both in the sense of some of the outreach and community activities that it does to the wider community, as well as bringing the Jewish culture to the area. Jewish culture would be quite vast as the different communities have come from different parts of the world, and then they've brought with them their local cultures, whether being from Poland, or whether being from Russia or from South Africa or from New York. Bringing all those cultures to Australia as well as the Jewish flavour too, that has really made this area quite spectacular.

Judaism centres me

For me to be able to centre myself on a daily basis three times a day as we pray, to be able to have my time focused and connected with God to be able to set me on my path of my daily work is so very important. Then, general spirituality, which cuts across all religions, and the opportunity to be able to work as a chaplain, whether it's for the New South Wales Police, or whether it's Reddam School, or whether it's at the local hospital. In many different ways to be able to have that spiritual connection which really connects all people is quite special. Really, prayer, religion, tradition, and spirituality all have a very strong interlinking connection.

Key Migration Wave - Holocaust Survivors

Australia has been the refuge for more Holocaust survivors per capita than any other country, apart from Israel. The Close Relatives Reunion Scheme after World War II allowed Holocaust survivors to enter on the basis of having family that already resided within Australia. There were a total of 27,000 Holocaust survivors in Australia who arrived between 1945-1961. With the passage of time, only a few are still with us, but their children and grandchildren are carrying on their legacy.

Listen to Mendel's Eat, Pray, Naches Stories

Full transcript is available here

Growing up in New York, Mendel studied in the Chabad Yeshiva system and was then chosen to take these experiences and programs to different parts of the world. Rabbi Mendel Kastel came to Bondi and has lived here ever since.


In New York, kosher food is readily accessible, even at the local baseball game there are kosher hot dogs for sale. But kosher food is becoming more and more accessible in Australia and Mendel has enjoyed a Kosher meat pie and sausage roll here as well!


Mendel's connection with Judaism and trying to influence others or connect with others is by thinking outside the square, doing different types of programs and coming up with ways that makes Judaism more accessible and speak to people.


Bringing joy to a person, whether personally or by making a difference like bringing happiness and joy to others through his work and contribution to community is what gives Mendel naches.