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Volume 22, No. 6, #158 - click here

 Publisher's Letter:
     Publisher's Message
 Let's Shmooze:
     Let's Shmooze
 Cover Story:
     A Taste of Benny Friedman
     The Folded Napkin
     Especially For You, Daddy
     An Old Woman and a Taxi Driver
 Sound Off:
     My Rant on Shidduchim
     To Save a Life
     Happiness Really Makes a Difference
     I'm Allergic to Fighting
     An Easy Way to Have Kavana
     Off the Wall
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December 2009 • Kislev 5770 Volume 22, No. 6, #158
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To Save a Life

To Save a Life

There are events that take place in a person’s life that are so significant and so meaningful that they have an effect on you for as long as you may live. Those of you who are married and have children can surely relate to this. By the grace of Hashem I had an experience that was so beautiful, so magnificent, so wonderful that my life will never be the same. I gave one of my kidneys to a total stranger.

I buy the Jewish Press on a regular basis. In October 2002, I read an advertisement placed by a gentleman who lives in Woodmere, Long Island. His father was on dialysis and needed a new kidney. I called him up and said that I would be willing to undergo the medical testing to determine if I was an appropriate match. Baruch Hashem I was. On June 25, 2003, I gave this man my kidney. I found out later that eighty percent of people who start dialysis will not survive more that ten years! I am just a plain person like anyone else. And yet I merited to give someone life! Is there anything better than that? The benefits to the donor are many. The surgeon who removed my kidney spoke at a seminar which I attended. He mentioned that, although he could not explain why, the fact is that research has shown that kidney donors have a longer life span than others. When he finished I told him that we Jews believe that G-d deals with us “measure for measure.” Or, as we refer to it, middah k’neged middah. I did something that will hopefully give a man additional years of life, so hopefully G-d will give me additional years of life. His response was, “Sounds good to me!” I only wish that I was born with fifty kidneys instead of just two. I would do this again in a heartbeat. The thrill that I get from knowing that I gave someone an improved quality of life so he can enjoy his children and grandchildren the way he did when he was healthy, is priceless.

Baruch Hashem I have met a growing number of kidney donors. Some are Jewish, some are Gentile. Some are men, some are women. Some are older, some are younger. Some are white, some are black. But there is one thing that we all have in common - none of us regrets what we have done. And I am sure that I speak for all of them when I say that we would like to have you join our team; the team of life-saving kidney donors. Medical science is advancing at an amazing rate. Now it is possible for someone who had Hepatitis C to donate a kidney. Log on to www.kidneymitzvah.com.

This website was started by someone who, in addition to being a kidney donor herself, has helped others become donors. Just about everything that you should know about kidney transplantation is on this site. Our Rabbonim, Litvish and Chasidish, have given their full support and blessing to those who donate a kidney. Join us. You will reap the benefits in this world and more importantly, the next world.

To those of you who are on dialysis, I offer you my help. I can put you in touch with individuals and organizations who work full time trying to help those with this problem. On a personal level, I can help you. Bring together your relatives, friends, co-workers, and anyone else that you know. I will speak to them and explain in detail what it means to become a donor. I have, Baruch Hashem, helped others in the past and I would consider it a privilege to do the same for you. After I spoke in his shul, Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek wrote me a letter in which he said, “Your story was nothing short of inspirational, and touched a deep chord that resonated through the spellbound crowd. I noticed a sentiment spreading throughout the room that indicated that others felt they could someday do the same.” The Kidney Transplant Team of the Westchester Medical Center wrote me after I spoke at one of their seminars and said, “By sharing your story you offered hope to all the individuals just learning about transplantation. Your stories were the highlight of the afternoon!”

My name is David Koster. My telephone numbers are 1-718-854-7789 and 1-917-753-4131. I invite anyone who would like to learn more about becoming a donor or anyone is on dialysis to call me. Your confidentiality will absolutely be respected. If you get my voice mail please leave a message. I promise to call you back.

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