Around the same time, Rabbi Mendel Kastel was also involved in organising singles events at the Great Synagogue. He realised that he needed to expand his horizons as more and more parents and grandparents asked him to help their children and grandchildren find Jewish partners.
In an attempt to formalise an introduction service, Rabbi Kastel started a newsletter with voicemail boxes for single people to connect.
When Simon Stein passed away in 2005 Rabbi Kastel moved to create a modern-day communal matchmaking initiative in Simon’s honour. Rabbi Kastel, Mark Werman, Stephen Green, Earl Schonberger and others in the community worked together to turn this idea into reality.
From its launch in 2006 Jconnect has grown from a handful of members and a couple of matches a month to thousands of members and almost 200 matches every month. Jconnect now boasts a team of volunteer connectors and event organisers in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hong Kong.
For the past five years Jconnect has had no community funding. It has been, and still is, supported by private sponsors and benefactors who believe in the importance of creating families as the cornerstone of a strong Jewish community.
Today Jconnect seeks to promote the concept of Jewish continuity throughout the local and overseas Jewish community. Its goal is to engage with all Jewish organisations so together they can encourage every Jew to embrace his or her cultural heritage and celebrate Jewish traditions for generations to come.