RABBI Mendel Kastel will end his tenure at The Great Synagogue in the coming months The AJN has learned.
Both the Great Synagogue and Rabbi Kastel, who is the president of the NSW Rabbinical Council, refused to comment when they were contacted by The AJN this week. However, the rabbi is expected to leave the synagogue by the end of the year.
After moving to Sydney from New York in 1988, the rabbi joined The Great Synagogue in 1993, and has become a key figure in Sydney’s Jewish community.
While he is best known for his work at the Elizabeth Street Synagogue, organising its youth camps and annual Chanukah celebrations, he also founded Point Zero Youth Services in 1997, and j-junction in 2006. He was the chaplain of the NSW police force, Maccabi NSW and St Vincent’s Hospital, where he visited more than 30,000 patients in Sydney.
Federal MP for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull said he hoped Rabbi Kastel would continue his service to the community.
“I was thrilled to recently present my good friend, Rabbi Kastel, with a Wentworth community service award for outstanding service to the community. Rabbi Kastel epitomises the act of tzedakah,” Turnbull said.
His sentiments were echoed by Point Zero Youth Services general manager Stephanie Lenga, who said that Rabbi Kastel was very supportive of the community.
“He has been incredible and he is such an asset to the community,” Lenga said.
“He seems to spend all the time he has, giving to the synagogue and community, whether it be j-junction for the single people in the community or Point Zero for the youth.”
Rabbi Kastel is expected to stay in Sydney and continue his work with j-junction, Point Zero Youth Services and a variety of other organisations.