Monday, May 26, 2008

One To Go

In the space of a few minutes, I heard of two separate (religious) individuals (one type O in Israel, one type A in the US) in their 20s looking to donate one of their kidneys to complete strangers.

I've never heard of this before, so upon hearing this, and learning that (at least) one of the individuals learns in a B”T yeshiva, two thoughts immediately came to mind, either this is a disturbing new cult trend, or the guy is trying to get over some major psychological guilt feelings he has from his past and figures this will help.

I admit it could be they are truly altruistic, and they see this as a natural and obvious outlet for their altruism, but that simply wasn’t among the first thought that crossed my mind.

It all sounded so strange, I started to do a little research.


It turns out that there is actually a Kidney Macher in the Jewish Community. A young woman name Chaya Lipschutz, who she herself donated a kidney to a complete stranger, and now is working hard to get other people to donate kidneys too. And there is a non-profit Jewish organization that is also involved in this called Renewal.

However, I am still personally having trouble contemplating the concept that someone might willingly and voluntarily give up a non-renewable piece of his or her body to a complete stranger. I’m sorry if you all now think less of me, but I simply can’t get my mind around it, even if it is clear that they are saving the life of someone with their actions.

I’m also aware that some readers here will take exception to what I am writing after either donating or receiving a kidney themselves (or knowing someone that did), or because they see only the positive side to the story.

I will whole-heartedly agree that it is clearly an incredible mitzvah to perform, and you are clearly changing and saving the life of the recipient.

So let’s hear what you have to say, because my first reaction when hearing these stories was that something is wrong with these people, while the initial reaction of the person who told me the stories was only the highest of praise.

If you want to read about this (the subject, not the specific people that I heard about) in more detail go to the article on the Aish site.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

6 comments:

Chaya Lipschutz said...

Hi! I donated a kidney to a stranger in September 2005 after seeing an ad in The Jewish Press for someone who was in need of a kidney. I didn't know anything then about kidney donation. The ad did say something like "save a life - be mekayim a once in a lifetime mitzvah" This sounded like something to check out, to say the least! It was the greatest experience in my life! I have a list of about 20 people in the Jewish community that I know of who donated a kidney, including my own brother who donated a kidney to someone on my list of people who are in need of a kidney. No one has regrets - some of us wish we can donate another kidney!

People who want to donate a kidney have to be in good health physically and mentally and are checked out by the hospital to make sure they are healthy enough to donate a kidney and are not getting paid to do so - whick is illegal.

Unbeliever said...

It Sounds like you have serious anti-religious issues to address, and I'm not religious at all.

jb

JoeSettler said...

jb: Nothing to do with anti-religious issues.

Unfortunately, in the past few months in Israel a number of "religious" people have been arrested for abusing others in various ways (psychological, physical, and sexual).

These cults leaders always take the form of "religious spiritual advisors" teaching their followers how to be more and more "strictly" religious. It starts off innocuous and eventually goes into hurting somebody (themselves and others) for the purpose of "spiritual uplifiting".

I'd never hear of altruistic kidney donations to strangers before, so when I first heard about a few people offering to do something extremely unusual that includes getting pieces of their own bodies cut out, while they are at an impressionable phase in a closed environment that puts them under the auspices of strong religious influencers, it made me pause for a second to consider what and who is influencing their behavior.

That's why and when I researched it and found out altruistic kidney donations is for real.

(Though I wonder if in Israel, if being under someone's religious influence would be grounds to reject the person.)

Anonymous said...

I do not think anyone is influencing their decision making, rather they want to do an unreal KINDNESS, and why not G-D gave us 2, one for us and one to share?

Anonymous said...

That's "Kidney G'mach", not "Kidney Macher"

JoeSettler said...

Maybe Kidney Shadchan instead. A G'mach kind of implies that you give the kidney back when your done with it.

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