24/7 Crisis Line: 1300 544 357

Jewish House – Covid192020-05-19T09:59:16+10:00

The Jewish House COVID-19 Crisis Portal has been launched as part of Jewish House’s Crisis Response to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) global pandemic crisis.

Our aim is to keep providing 24/7 crisis services to vulnerable people in our community while keeping people up-to-date with the most current information, tools, factsheets and resources, so you stay socially connected whist in physical isolation.

Jewish House continues to provide crisis accommodation, long term affordable housing, psychology, counselling, case management, resilience building workshops, children’s workshops and pastoral care during this time.

As a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have launched the following new services: Medication delivery service, virtual workshops, DBT Psychology & counselling sessions via phone, daily social isolation calls, remote IT support services, and the launch of this Jewish House COVID-19 Crisis Portal.

On this platform, you will find a range of resources including links to our JH workshops, services and clinical team, official health resources, mental health and wellness toolkits and advice, children and family resources, nutritional information, pet information, Pesach holiday information, Synagogue information, training sessions for Rabbis & Rebitzens, videos, and much more.

We will be updating this portal with new information regularly, so check this site often and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and notifications.

JH is here to provide you and your loved ones with crisis support to help you through these difficult times; We are all #InThisTogether.

If you are in an emergency, please contact the below services:

As a family, you can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family during a COVID-19 outbreak. Creating a household plan can help protect your health and support vulnerable people in your family and community. Use this checklist to help you take steps to plan and protect the health of you and your family:

CDC Household preparedness checklist

JH FAMILY Planning Worksheet

Age appropriate language and tools for children’s Tools to talk to kids and manage anxiety

Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way.

Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it is normal to feel concerned.

When a child asks you a question, answer their concerns calmly and directly. They will read your face, your tone of voice and your body language more carefully than your words. If you are ok, they will be ok.

Helpful resources & articles:

Children’s resources: education, creative art and physical movement

We encourage you to keep your kids active and busy during this time. Please find below a number of online videos, activities and educational resources for you to participate with your children in complete whilst in physical isolation:

✅Jewish Kids Podcasts https://www.owltail.com/podcast/74786-kids-jewish-podcast/best-episodes

✅Remote Children’s Jewish Learning https://www.jewishinteractive.org/

✅Chabad Jewish Kids Club https://www.chabad.org/kids/default_cdo/jewish/JewishKidsorg.htm

✅ Exciting activities and tours at the Jewish Children’s Museum https://www.jcm.museum/

✅Virtual excursion to Australian War Memorial- https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/schools/VirtualExcursions

✅The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games- https://kids.sandiegozoo.org/

✅Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover- https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/

✅This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies- https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/

✅Geography with National Geographic- https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

✅Children’s books read by famous- people https://www.storylineonline.net/

✅Crafts and activities- https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/

✅Fun games, recipes, crafts, activities- https://www.highlightskids.com/

✅Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults- https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive

✅Educational games K-12- https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome

✅35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world- https://www.countryreports.org/

✅Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, maths and science- https://www.nomsterchef.com/nomster-recipe-library

✅Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for young children. Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text- https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html

✅Type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help children learn about history- http://www.whatwasthere.com/

✅Helps children learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art- https://artsology.com/

✅Live video of the National Zoo and Smithsonian Learning Lab right- https://www.si.edu/kids

✅This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals- https://climatekids.nasa.gov/

✅Kids Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design- http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/

✅Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts- https://www.gonoodle.com/

✅Kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout- https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts

✅Maths as a fun part of your daily family routine- http://bedtimemath.org/

✅Music is for everyone- https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments

✅Projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing- https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

✅Learn a language-  https://www.duolingo.com/

✅Online classes for kids- https://outschool.com/#abk7vott3k

✅Short videos and texts that answer various burning questions for children. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions- http://wonderopolis.org/

✅Learn to code- https://www.codecademy.com/

✅Listen to astronauts at Story Time From Space- https://storytimefromspace.com/library/

✅Math games galore-  https://gridclub.com/

✅Lots of science experiments that you can do at home- https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/

✅Work on the 8 parts of speech-  https://www.grammaropolis.com/

✅Google Earth. All sorts of learning here- https://www.google.com/earth/

✅Scratch teaches students all about coding- https://scratch.mit.edu/

✅A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art- https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/

✅Tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are- https://www.geoguessr.com/

✅Short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun- https://www.numberphile.com/

✅Helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art- https://artsology.com/

✅Lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos- https://www.virtualmusicalinstruments.com/

✅A large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool students- https://www.songsforteaching.com/preschoolkindergarten.htm

✅This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals- https://climatekids.nasa.gov/

✅Coding for ages 4-10- https://www.kodable.com/

✅For budding Marine Biologists- take a deep dive into ocean life. https://ocean.si.edu/

✅Science podcasts to listen to with your kids- https://medium.com/kidslisten/19-great-science-podcasts-you-can-listen-to-with-kids-6fe46ac506b8#.rb23iuaw6

✅Red Tent Art- step by step instructions on art projects including origami, Easter, 3D cards, clay pots, etc- https://www.youtube.com/user/redtedart

✅ABC- Educational resources- https://education.abc.net.au/home#!/home

✅Boost writing confidence with Storybird- http://storybird.com/

✅Kids numbers- http://www.kidsnumbers.com/

✅Maths Frame- http://www.mathsframe.co.uk/default.aspx

✅Make your own animated videos with Go animate- http://goanimate.com/

✅Create interactive avatars to showcase children’s learning- Voki:  http://www.voki.com/

✅Go Geocatching- https://geocaching.com.au

✅The Kid Should See This- https://thekidshouldseethis.com

✅Electoral system of Australia- https://education.aec.gov.au/teacher-resources/

✅Kids News- https://education.aec.gov.au/teacher-resources/

Pets - what we now know and how it could affect your relationship with your dog or cat.

As pet owners try to minimise their risk of exposure to the novel Coronavirus (COVID).

We have put together an executive summary of the main FAQ’s we are receiving and expecting:

What is the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?

Canine Coronavirus has existed for decades and hardly causes disease in pets, whereas COVID-19 refers to the virus currently causing the global pandemic. COVID-19 is the dangerous one.

Can COVID-19 infect our dog or cat?

Theoretically, it is possible. Viruses require unique ‘cell surface proteins’ which act as doors to enter a body and cause infection. Without these ‘doors’, viruses can’t attach to human or animal cells and this explains why some species catch certain viruses but can’t spread it to other species.

‘ACE2’ is the ‘door’ COVID-19 uses to infect humans.

The concerning part is that this specific cell surface protein called ‘ACE-2’ is present in both human and our canine friends, making COVID-19 theoretically possible to be passed from humans to dogs.

OK, so it is theoretically possible but has COVID-19 infected any dog or cat.

Yes. Reports showed a dog last week in Hong Kong tested positive to COVID-19. The World Health Organisation later confirmed this. The dog has now died.

Can I catch COVID-19 if my dog or cat caught it from an infected human?

There has not been any confirmed case yet, but we are monitoring the situation.

Should I take any precautions when interacting with my dog or cat now?

No special precautions are required right now for interacting with your pet. It is a good habit to practise the same hygiene measures just like when interacting with a toddler. That is – wash your hands using soap and water after playing with them, especially if you will be eating after.

Does the leptospirosis vaccine protect my dog or cat?

The leptospirosis vaccine contains a coronavirus vaccine also, but this coronavirus vaccine protects against canine coronavirus not COVID-19

I think my pet has coronavirus how can I test my dog or cat for coronavirus?

There is a test called a ‘PCR swab’ that can be performed non-invasively that will pick up coronavirus DNA. The trouble is the test cannot differentiate between COVID-19 and the normal everyday coronavirus that does not harm dogs much.

If you notice symptoms of coughing, sneezing or diarrhoea in your dog, your vet may have coronavirus on their list of things in their mind to consider ruling out.

Having issues installing video platforms to connect with friends and family? JH has collaborated with a number of IT professionals to provide you with troubleshooting support to get you up and running, online! Contact us on 02 9386 0770 so we can connect you with someone to ensure you stay socially connected whilst in physical isolation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had dire impacts on the world’s economy. If you are having trouble around entitlements or evictions, you can contact the Eastern Area Tenants Service (EATS), which offers free advice, information, and help to tenants who are having problems with their property owners or real estate agents.


Jewish House have been providing crisis intervention and prevention services for vulnerable people in our community, including the homeless and people at risk of becoming homeless, sine 1983. If you are at risk of becoming homeless or require urgent crisis intervention and prevention services – you can contact us on 02 9386 0770 for support, advise, or access to our (or interagency) services.

The link below has a list of organisations that can be reached for individual support.


News and up-to-date information:

Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert;

Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19);

smartraveller.gov.au – travel information for Australian citizens;

World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak >

Directory of health care professionals:

Need to access a GP or specialist? You can use the website below to search for local doctors in your area.



We must take necessary protective measures against the new coronavirus. We advise you to keep updated latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others.

Please refer to additional resources:


Hand washing:

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.


Disinfecting spaces/ cleaning surfaces:

According to the World Health Organization, it is not sure how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Please refer to additional resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

At certain times, it might be appropriate to use PPE to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 infections. Please review the below:

General PPE Guidelines: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331215/WHO-2019-nCov-IPCPPE_use-2020.1-eng.pdf

Masks: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-the-use-of-surgical-masks-coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-the-use-of-surgical-masks.pdf

Pesach holiday advice & resources

A special message from Jewish House President, Roger Clifford OAM, to all of our supporters, staff, volunteers, clients, and community organisations.

In efforts to combat this global pandemic, we have been asked to exercise physical distancing whilst this means we cannot be physically in one room or synagogue to celebrate this joyous holiday – we can still stay connected via social media platforms.

Many people in our community visit friends, family and community gatherings for the Pesach Seder. This year, this will likely change as many of us will have to celebrate Pesach either with our households or by ourselves, we need to focus on staying healthy and well rather than focusing too much on cleaning and preparation. While this might seem overwhelming, your Rabbis are here to help, so please reach out to your local Rabbi for guidance, and consider creating a live video stream of your celebration to connect with friends and community members.

Passover candle lighting schedule

There are several free platforms to allow you to connect with your loved one via a multi-person video chat prior to the holidays. These include:

Below is some useful information about organising a Seder:



Chabad Network

If a loved one is in need of support overseas, click the link below to reach out to the local Chabad office, or contact Jewish House for more information by emailing reception@jewishhouse.org.au:


Prayer for good health

Prayers can provide support during this time. You can request a prayer for good health by emailing your local Rabbi, or Jewish House CEO Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM, and providing them with the individual’s Hebrew name and mother’s Hebrew name.

To find your local Rabbi, click here

Alternatively, you can fill out the form here

Women’s Mikvah information

The Women’s Mikvah in the North Shore has put in place extra precautions and will remain open during this time.

Please click here for more information.

Hospital Visits

In light on this new pandemic, hospitals have now put in place visiting new restrictions to help protect both patients, staff and visitors. While regular hospital visits might be disrupted, Rabbis will be available to provide FaceTime/Skype/ phone support to people in need. Many hospitals have received Shabbos packs which are available at reception.

For any assistance, please contact your local Rabbi.

View Rabbi Directory here

Going into a period of physical distancing, self-isolation or quarantine may feel daunting or overwhelming, and can contribute to feelings of helplessness and fear. In addition to the above, JH encourages the following;

  • Perspective: try to see this time as unique and different, not necessarily bad, even if it something you didn’t necessarily choose.
  • Connection:  think of creative ways to stay connected with others, including social media, email and phone.
  • Be generous to others: giving to others in times of need not only helps the recipient, but it also enhances your wellbeing too. Is there a way to help others around you?
  • Stay connected with your values: Don’t let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others. We are all in this together!
  • Daily routine: create a routine that prioritises things you enjoy and even things you have been meaning to do but haven’t had enough time. Read that book, watch that show, and take up that new hobby.
  • Positivity: Try to see this as a new and unusual period that might even have some benefits.
  • Limit your exposure to news and media: Perhaps choose specific times of day when you will get updates, and ensure they are from reputable and reliable sources.

Helpful resources & articles:

JH workshops and programs:

JH specialises in a range of mental health and wellness programs and services. As a result of this pandemic, we have expanded these services and made them accessible via this portal to connect with people during physical isolation.

If you are having issues connecting to any of the below workshops, please call JH reception on 02 9386 0770.

  • JH Resilience building online workshop: We have moved our weekly resilience-building workshops online.  Click here to join our virtual group every Wednesday at 10 am.
  • JH Kids online program: JH Kids weekly workshops and holiday programs teach families how to connect and build healthy relationships through education and play. These sessions are an important outlet for many of our community members; we have transported these online for children and their carers/parents.

Online workshops will launch shortly. Stay tuned for times, dates and registration link.

  • SMART recovery online workshops:

SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) Recovery is a free group program assisting people with any problematic behaviours, including addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, food, shopping, Internet and others.

Guided by trained peers and professionals, participants come to help themselves and each other using a variety of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational tools and techniques.

Click here to join the online smart recovery workshops.

Positive engagements:

The current physical distancing policy means many of the everyday opportunities for people to connect and do things they enjoy have stopped. This is limiting the impact of the pandemic.

JH is encouraging everyone to stay socially connected via online means, by being imaginative in how you and your family can connect. We have come up with some creative tips below to help you get started:

  • Transport yourself to a coffee shop or dinner party in your imagination by video calling a friend or family member over a coffee or meal to catch up.
  • 30 minutes of exercise each day is important for your physical and mental wellness. We suggest skyping a friend and complete a workout app together each morning (check out our fitness section below).
  • Create an online book club with a handful of friends and host a regular book club video call to discuss your feedback and connect.
  • If you have a skill in music, art, or education – try offering complimentary lessons to your friends and community in online video sessions.
  • Encourage children to have skype video playdates with their friends – they can build Lego together, draw, share a new talent or skill, or simply just talk about their day and how they are feeling.

If you enjoy cooking, exercising or doing other daily activities with friends, you can continue this tradition during isolation through virtual means! Below are some free platforms you can use:

  • FaceTime Video Calls (iPhone only)
  • WhatsApp Video Calls
  • Skype Video Calls
  • Zoom meetings

Managing social media and news:

Exposure to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it is important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.

It is important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This may also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control:

Stress Management Advice:

Click here for stress management advice from the World Health Organisation to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic:

24/7 crisis call line:

JH operates a 24/7 phone service which offers support for people experiencing crisis, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts, family violence and homelessness. Connect with this service by calling 1300 544 357.

If your concern is not an emergency, please call Jewish House during the week on 02 9386 0770 between 9am and 5pm, and we will connect you with non-emergency services and support.

Mental Health Support:

JH in-house psychologists and counsellors are collaborating with the Sydney Clinic, Healthscope, & Mums4Mums mental health professionals and several community clinical psychologists to provide professional support to people feeling anxious, depressed or unsettled. These 10-minute phone calls can be by filling out the form here:

If your request is urgent, please contact us on our 24/7 crisis line 1300 544 357, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Why you should do 30 minutes of exercise every day:

It is no secret that moving more helps us to be fitter and healthier.

Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day can boost our general health and well-being and ability to live an independent and fulfilling life.

Benefits of regular physical activity

  1. Heart health
    Stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes can be minimised with exercising. It will also keep your heart and blood flow happy.
  2. Weight loss
    Yep – even half an hour of exercise per day can help you to prevent excess weight gain or maintain weight loss. if you’re struggling for time, get more active in your day to day duties e.g. taking the stairs or walking to work
  3. Reduce stress
    Exercise increases the amount of norepinephrine in your body – the chemical that can moderate our brain’s response to stress and stressful situations. If you’ve had a tough day, go ahead and get sweaty — a quick run around the block or up and down stairs can reduce stress, as well as boost your ability to deal with existing mental tension.
  4. Mood booster
    Physical activity stimulates chemicals in your brain to leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. It releases endorphins that are a mood changer and booster and you will feel so different after just 30 minutes of activity.
  5. Energy burst
    When your energy levels are at zero, it can be tempting to skip exercising in favour of Netflix or TV– but that half hour of exercise can give you the boost you’re looking for. Delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissues while helping your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently, exercise will give your body the shake-up it needs to continue working effectively.
  6. Improve memory
    If you’re looking to boost your powers of recollection, take a half hour trek around the neighbourhood. Exercise increases the production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning.
  7. Increase productivity
    Ever feel like your afternoon coffee break just doesn’t cut it? Taking a half hour walk during your lunch break could be the difference between a 2pm slump and a productive afternoon.
  8. Tap into creativity
    Writer’s block can’t be avoided by staring extra hard into your laptop screen, so get away from the computer for a half hour exercise session instead. Refreshing and recharging with some outdoor exercise could be your ticket to creative heaven.
  9. Improve self confidence
    We all have days where we feel less than average – half an hour of exercise could be the difference between a self-pity sob session and a well-deserved hit of self-confidence, so get sweaty. Your body will thank you in the long run.
  10. Have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis. It will also lower the risk of falls!!

Below are some links to exercise and wellbeing Apps:

Food and Nutrition:

During isolation, we often find that daily routines are drastically altered. One of the ways to bring back some form of normality can be through eating regular meals and incorporating exercise with a focus on health. During this difficult time, it’s important to remember that eating healthily is not only vital for general well-being and building immunity but it may also affect your mood.

Grocery & food support

Are you or a loved one struggling to obtain groceries or meals? The community is here to help.

Please reach visit Rabbi Rappaport’s Community help portal to request food and grocery support: https://forms.gle/f96tDR8KcWtNLMuE6

Jewish House Addiction Support Service

JH has launched a support service connecting people with addictive behaviours (of alcohol, drugs and gambling) to our team who can give them the tools to assist in addiction support and preventing relapse. This service will provide immediate telephone counselling support, pathways to online addiction recovery meetings and resources to help you through these uncertain times and keep you on the path of wellness and recovery.

We have a team of peer support volunteers who will make themselves available to provide guidance support and mentoring to those who would like to engage in a recovery process.

Our portal will feature a number of helpful links and resources at www.jewishhouse.org.au/covid19

Right now, our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We understand that for many people recovering from substance abuse and gambling addictions – the boredom and anxiety felt by physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, can lead to serious relapse issues. We are facing an extraordinary time – with many of us feeling unsettled and uncertain as we stay in our homes. It is more important than people recovering from addictions to remain socially and emotionally connected with family, friends, and communities.

The Jewish House Addiction Support Service can be accessed by people recovering from addictions, people acknowledging new addictive behaviours, and family members of people with addictive behaviours.

The Jewish House Addiction Support Service is available till 8 pm and for urgent after hours can also be accessed on 1300 544 357, or email addiction@jewishhouse.org.au. Check out the JH COVID-19 Crisis Portal for helpful links and resources at www.jewishhouse.org.au/covid19

We are all #InThisTogether

Resource list:



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Narcotics Anonymous

SMART Recovery

AA-Alcoholics Anonymous

Women for Sobriety


Moderation Management

In the Rooms



Connections –

I Am Sober –

SoberGrid –

Smart Recovery –

Meeting Guide –

NA Meeting Search –

Recovery Path –




Families Anonymous

SMART Recovery Friends and Family


A list of Virtual Meetings & Speaker Archives (by the Token Shop)

During this unprecedented time of physical distancing and social solidarity, here is a list of online meetings as well as speaker tape archives to help all people in recovery or people struggling with maintaining sobriety or people interested in reducing or quitting alcohol and other substance use. Download the list here.