About Us 2017-12-02T19:10:57+00:00

We open our door and 24/7-crisis line to members of the public in need

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It is our mission to improve the well-being and independence of people in crisis by ensuring the best possible outcomes for each person through the highest standard of support and care. Through professional care, delivered in a humane and dignified manner, we reintegrate clients back into the community with purpose and in a safe environment – improving their future and breaking the cycle of homelessness and future personal crisis.


Jewish House was founded in 1983 by brothers Anthony and Roger Clifford. Their substantial donation enabled the purchase of the building at 17 Flood street, and supported the organisation to grow and prosper through its early years. They did this with the inspiration and guidance of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson. As founding presidents Anthony and Roger invested considerable time and resources to establish the foundations of the organisation. It was initially a centre for counselling teenagers and others affected by drug and alcohol abuse and to address the growing trend of involvement in cults at the time. Today, through a dedication to excellence and its professional and uniquely embracing approach, it has evolved to be recognised as a pre-eminent institution in the provision of a far broader range of crisis services across all ages and community profiles.

Our services have expanded to include support for homelessness, the 24/7 help line, crisis accommodation, psychology, psychiatry, social work, counselling, community education, prevention and positive living programmes . Our innovative psycho social approach, whereby a number of services are combined in a unique way for each client, is a model well regarded by other organisations and has ensured a very high success rate in assisting people to rebuild their lives after a major crisis. In fact, Jewish House has become one of the leading agencies taking a holistic and community based approach to addressing the immediate distress, causes and outcomes of homelessness. Through a uniquely embracing psycho social approach whereby a number of services are combined in a unique way for each client with subsequent follow up our model is well regarded by other organisations and has ensured a very high success rate in assisting people to rebuild their lives and have significantly positive outcomes after a major crisis which is clearly supported by data collected demonstrating 76% of clients had established themselves in stable housing.

The organisation has evolved as a result of these innovative practices to be recognised as a pre-eminent institution in the provision of a broader range of crisis services across all ages and community profiles with services expanding to include a 24/7 help line, crisis accommodation, a kids program, psychology, psychiatry and social work services, as well as community education, prevention and other positive living programs. Our comprehensive range of crisis intervention and prevention services are provided to individuals and families suffering from depression, alcoholism, gambling and drug addiction, domestic violence, mental illness, unemployment, anger management, homelessness, family disputes and other crises.


Roger Clifford
Roger CliffordCo-President

Roger Clifford, together with his brother Anthony, founded Jewish House 34 years ago. Roger is a prominent businessman and owns the Arc Fashion Group. His business acumen combined with a compassionate regard for his fellow humans has always been an invaluable guide for Jewish House and its staff.

Gary Cohen
Gary Cohen Co-President

Gary Cohen has been on the Board of Jewish House since 1989. Gary has extensive experience in the IT industry. He is currently CEO of Invigor Group Limited an ASX listed Company and a principal of Marcel Equity, a corporate advisor. Previous to this Gary was CEO and Chairman of iSOFT Group Limited as well as a leading legal practitioner, and principal of an Australian investment bank. Gary has a track record of building management teams, strengthening customer relationships and developing ties with stakeholders.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel
Rabbi Mendel KastelOAM - CEO , Jewish House

Rabbi Kastel joined the Jewish House at the beginning of 2008. He has been providing Rabbinic expertise to the Sydney community for over 20 years. His deep community and social welfare experience, passion for the cause and collaborative approach has seen Jewish House grow and continue to develop. Both he and Jewish House are well recognised for applying innovative best practices to the provision of expert crisis services in the Sydney community.

Colin Samuel
Colin SamuelTreasurer

Colin Samuel joined Jewish House in 2015 and is a partner with ESV Accounting and Business Advisors specialising in solving complex problems for private business and business owners. The firm itself works for a number of not for profits including Maccabi NSW. His qualifications include B Comm. (Accounting and Finance), Registered Tax Agent, Justice of the Peace and Advanced Diploma (CA) – ICAA. Colin has a wealth of experience in private business and has worked for some of the leading accounting firms.

Graham Einfeld
Graham EinfeldOAM, Non-Executive Director

Graham joined the board of Jewish House in 2013. In 2005 Graham retired as a Partner of ESV Accounting and Business Advisors and now provides consultancy services to the firm on superannuation and retirement planning issues. He has also held leadership roles in a number of community and charitable organisations for which he was awarded Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011. Graham is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Sharonne Phillips
Sharonne Phillips Non-Executive Director

Sharonne joined the board in 2011. She has a deep understanding of the aged, health and social services sector. She is a Certified Professional Ergonomist with a Bachelor Degree in Science (Major: Anatomy), a Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy and a Masters in Occupational Health and Safety. She has worked as a physiotherapist in the private and public sectors across most areas and has been a consultant ergonomist for over 20 years. She has a keen interest in OH&S, compliance and risk management, and mediation.

Ron Hirsch
Ron HirschNon-Executive Director

Ron joined the board of Jewish House in 2012. He has over 25 years experience working in investment banking with mergers and acquisitions, holding CEO positions in Australian public listed ASX companies including (TEC), The Executive Connection. Ron is Chairman of The Fresh Venture Group an award winning corporate services company with multiple fresh produce brands. He is a current director of The Australasian Football Institute and is a director of several private companies. Ron is also a past director of Redkite.

Avi Sharabi
Avi SharabiNon-Executive Director

Avi joined Jewish House in 2016. Avi was a Partner at Deloitte where he started and led the NSW Business Intelligence team before moving to Deloitte Digital. Avi has over 20 years experience in delivering business solutions to large private and public organisations across the US and Australia. Avi holds a Bachelor degree in Computer Science (Highest Honours, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California Santa Cruz where he was a Regent Scholar (1995) and a Master’s degree in Legal Studies from UNSW (2003).

Robyn Solomon
Robyn SolomonNon-Executive Director

Robyn has led multiple projects across many Business units and Digital disciplines. She has also lectured Economics at Curtin and other universities. She mentors indigenous organisations and is currently consulting in the areas of aged care and micro business creation. Robyn holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Western Australia (Perth).


The Team at Jewish House are extremely dedicated to helping those in a crisis. Each member brings their unique specialised knowledge, making the organisation a dynamic and effective team upholding our values of integrity, honesty, respect and accountability for the rights, differences and dignity of all in our community.


Rabbi Mendel Kastel
Rabbi Mendel KastelOAM - CEO , Jewish House

Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM has been providing Rabbinic expertise to the Sydney community for over 20 years. He has taken a particular interest in social welfare, and has been the driving force behind various youth and welfare organisations such as Point Zero, WAYS (Waverley Youth Service) and J Junction. After 15 years of service at the Great Synagogue, Rabbi Kastel joined the Jewish House at the beginning of 2008. His efforts have seen the Jewish House grow and develop, becoming an expert provider of crisis services in the Sydney community.

Dr Kieran Le Plastrier
Dr Kieran Le PlastrierClinical Director, Jewish House - MBBS (Hons) MPsych FACHI PhD Candidate

Dr Le Plastrier completed medical school as a surgical trainee, before discovering his passion for psychiatry. He served as president of the hospital residents’ society from 2007 to 2008. He has worked in exercise physiology research, completed a Masters of Psychiatry, worked as adjunct associate lecturer at the University of NSW, and is currently completing a doctoral degree at the University of Western Sydney School of Business.  His research focuses on evaluating the impact of the National Emergency Access Targets on the clinical encounter and productivity.  He is a director at one of Australia’s most prestigious poetry presses. Dr Le Plastrier’s practice is based on mindfulness of the joy and privilege of service to clients as a doctor, bearing witness to the enduring capacity of individuals and communities to remain resilient and find recovery from even the most traumatising of life experiences.

Michael Herman
Michael HermanPsychologist

Michael Herman is a qualified psychologist who joined the Jewish House in 2009. Michael has had a long career in psychiatric rehabilitation which involved psychometric evaluation and treatment of patients with a wide spectrum of psychological and psychiatric disorders as well as conducting research. His additional expertise in treating perpetrators of violence is invaluable in treating victims of violent abuse who are often clients of the Jewish House. He is also responsible for conducting data analysis and research. This research is an important source of knowledge when planning and allocating resources and programs at Jewish House.

Dr Merrilyn Clancy
Dr Merrilyn ClancyJH Kids Program Manager - BS, MA, PhD

Dr Clancy’s career began in Australia in speech pathology, and continued in the USA (California & New York) with a focus on service delivery models that work for families.  She has worked in every health care setting imaginable, including research, universities, hospitals, private practice and schools. Dr Clancy’s goal for JH Kids is to build a care coordination service that brings together parents, teachers and caregivers, and actively build their capabilities for improved functional outcomes for children – at home, school and at play.

Andrea Banic
Andrea BanicFinance and Operations - BBus (Accting/Law) CPA

Andrea has worked in senior roles for a diverse range of companies in the commercial and not for profit sectors such as Leighton Holdings, Rathbones UK And others in Australia and overseas and has brought her philanthropic interest to her work at Jewish House

Rachel Phillips
Rachel PhillipsMarketing, Communications and Events Manager

Rachel has worked in various marketing roles in her career spanning Village Roadshow, Brand Events Australia and the Australian Red Cross and is very excited to develop and grow the function at Jewish House


We have an incredible team of skilled and experienced Social Workers and Caseworkers located at different sites who are on premises full-time.


Business Partners

When it comes to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, or boosting team morale and engagement, Jewish House is a worthwhile and powerful partner for business. When you align your business and brand-building objectives in partnership with Jewish House, you can be assured that you are connecting with like-minded, strategic and driven community members.

Within a Jewish House charity partnership, corporate partners can support a specific program or an area of interest, or the wider work of Jewish House in helping vulnerable people, families and communities.

Jewish House values each and every partner. And together with the support of our existing partners, we have been able to change the lives of thousands of people in need, working diligently to achieve long term solutions. We are proud to say that some of our relationships with our partners now span many years.

Talk to Jewish House’s Partnerships team today about becoming a corporate partner. Find out how we can tailor a partnership within the not-for-profit / for-purpose space for your organisation that meets your organisation’s objectives, as well as delivering tangible outcomes that optimise return on investment. Jewish House would love to help deliver partnership results for your organisation.

Contact Jewish House’s Partnerships team today.

Call us: 02 9386 0770 or Email us: reception@jewishhouse.org.au

Industry Partners

The establishment and growth of the child developmental support program for primary aged children, aptly named JH Kids. This innovative program is managed by Dr Merrilyn Clancy and supports children and their families to improve outcomes from therapeutic interventions and implements social and emotional development strategies, so that children can reach their full and individual potential

The Jewish House and Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury (Lifeline H2H) partnership provides a set of immediate support services to clients accessing either Lifeline H2H or Jewish House. This allows the sharing of resources and specialist expertise to meet the needs of each client by expanding the service delivery to a more geographically accessible site for the client presenting. It includes the use of telephone-based mental health support where those services would best be provided by staff of one or other of the sites. This allows direct service delivery in both the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore.

Jewish House and Taronga Zoo have partnered to celebrate Sukkot at the Zoo (a first of its kind event in the world) as a means of welcoming and enhancing the Jewish School’s Community understanding of key conservation issues and the actions that can be taken to help the environment.

In its fourth year, the WAGEC partnership – which includes Wesley Mission, Stepping Out and the St Vincent de Paul Society – continues to grow with the Jewish House team assisting over 220 single women and families across three locations in inner Sydney in 2016, supporting them into long-term stable housing outcomes.

Formally inducted as a Sponsor for the Urban Partnership, a collective impact consortium led by St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, to dramatically improve the ease and efficiency of delivering individual needs-based support and care to the communities of the Inner City, East and South East.

The alliance with JNF is ongoing and includes the program delivery at Taronga Zoo as well as other intiatives integrating the Community.

Jewish House has partnered with Montefiore, the leaders in aged care in the provision of hospital bags to residents of the community.

Four brand new group-based therapeutic programs have been introduced by the social work team, providing new avenues of recovery for our clients and families.

Jewish House has become the designated trainer for the the elected representative body of NSW Jewry providing training courses for Rabbis.


SMART Recovery

Resilience Group

Living Skills


In this section, you can also find research papers, policy submissions and other external presentations that help explain what we do, the issues faced and why we do what we do.

Read More


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