April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Kidney Match Made in Heaven for a Fair Lawn Resident and His Recipient

I must say, thank God I live in an amazing community and I live on an amazing block. There are so many wonderful hashgacha stories right here. One of my neighbors shared his story that just took place on 6/13. The date itself is indicative of the miracle that happened.

Aaron Chait, a resident of Kew Gardens Hills, suffered from a severe kidney problem toward the end of February 2018, and he was going to need dialysis. The solution to his problem was a kidney transplant. He spoke to Menachem Friedman, program director of Renewal, an Orthodox non-profit organization in Brooklyn that helps facilitate live kidney transplants within the Jewish community.

Friedman spoke highly of Dr. Stuart Greenstein, a frum transplant surgeon at Montefiore Hospital. Chait noted that Dr. Greenstein is a Harvard-trained doctor who graduated with honors but has no airs about him. He is a humble man who wants the best for his patients. “This doctor is really incredible,” Chait noted. “He’s accessible 24/7; even now when he is in Israel I have his cell number and I can call him and he will call back.

So, there was hashgacha finding this doctor through Renewal, and Renewal helped with the process of finding a donor. “We could not have done it without them,” Mrs. Chait noted. “They were with us every step of the way and they are still calling and checking up on him.” Right before the surgery, Menachem Friedman and David Schischa, director of development from Renewal, came to the hospital and spoke with Aaron to give him chizuk. After the surgery that night, someone from Renewal came to speak with Aaron again to see how he was doing. Mrs. Chait noted that Rabbi Joshua Sturm, director of outreach at Renewal, stayed with her during the surgery. The Renewal organization was always there behind the scenes helping every step of the way. The Chaits both shared that Renewal is an amazing organization of chesed to which the Jewish community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude as they have helped facilitate 500 live-donor transplants.

The story of Chait’s donor is truly one of Hashem’s hashgacha. The kidney donor was Dr. Tzvi Fischer, a retired gastroenterologist from Fair Lawn. He had gone to Renewal to offer to be a donor but never heard back. He happened to be in Israel this past Pesach when it was discovered he would be the right match for Chait, but because he was in Israel he missed the call from Renewal. He received the message two weeks later.

Chait said, “What Dr. Fischer did restores your faith in humanity. I never met a tzaddik like that before. Here’s a man who gave an absolute stranger a part of his body. There’s nothing comparable to that.”

Mrs. Chait explained that the average waiting list for a kidney donation is seven to eight years, and this is with a cadaver donor. Yet, miraculously, Chait’s wait was only a couple of months, from March to early June. The donor and the recipient did not know each other’s identity until after the transplant. This is the way Renewal operates, so when the donor found out the name of the recipient and when Chait found out the name of the donor they were both amazed because there was a connection. The donor was a talmid of Rabbi Leibel Chait, z”l, Chait’s uncle, who was Dr. Fischer’s rebbe at MTA and to whom he had remained very close over the years. Rabbi Leibel Chait was the mesader kiddushin for Dr. and Mrs. Fischer.

Chait related some more background regarding his connection to Rabbi Leibel Chait. When his uncle, Rabbi Chait, was suffering from severe heart issues, he went with his uncle’s grandson to visit him on Shabbat in the hospital and said to the family, “Please, we need to transfer Uncle Leibel to St. Frances Hospital for better care.” Thankfully, they listened. Bypass surgery was performed and it saved his life. Baruch Hashem, he recovered and lived a few years afterward. His uncle was so grateful to him for helping get him to that hospital that he insisted that they learn together weekly. Chait truly enjoyed and cherished this learning time with his uncle.

Chait shared his thoughts regarding his kidney transplant: “I feel my Uncle Leibel was mispallel on my behalf to the Ribono shel Olam.”

Chait is extremely grateful for all the tefillot of friends, the KGH community, all his family and for his close family members visiting kevarim here and in Eretz Yisroel on his behalf. He also expressed a special hakarat hatov to Rabbinical Seminary of America/Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim that ran a special event for Renewal to locate a donor on his behalf right before Pesach, and to Yaakov Serle, publisher of the Queens Jewish Link, who volunteered to run an email blast in the paper encouraging people to attend the event.

Mrs. Chait shared something else incredible. The morning of the surgery, Rosh Chodesh Tamuz, Dr. Greenstein and Dr. Fischer both davened at the same vasikin minyan in New Jersey. Dr. Greenstein was called for the Levi aliyah and Dr. Fischer was called for the Yisroel aliyah.

So, now, three weeks after the surgery, Chait must be careful to allow his body to adjust to the new kidney. He has to take immunosuppressant drugs and is on a restricted diet.

Eventually, he hopes he will be able to go back to running and exercising, im yirtzeh Hashem. Regarding some of these inconveniences, he commented: “The gift of longer life supersedes any negative aspects.” He is so grateful for the opportunity to be able to enjoy his family, and davens for many more years of Yiddishe nachat from his children and grandchildren and the beautiful community of Kew Gardens Hills. Chait shared that he spoke with someone who had a kidney transplant and told him that now that he has a very normal life he feels better than he felt before. With Hashem’s help, Chait will have the same feeling.

When asked what lesson he gained from this experience, he responded, “You have to have faith and daven to the Ribono shel Olam. He is going to help you. You see all the signs and realize it wasn’t just a simple shidduch. It couldn’t just come about on its own. The refuah came in a deep and meaningful way. I have appreciation to Hashem for His chesed and hope, im yirtzeh Hashem, to enjoy long years to do His work.”

May Hashem grant a continued complete refuah sheleima to Aaron Chait and all the cholim in klal Yisrael.

Kidney donation is a process that can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Renewal has streamlined the process by working together with transplant centers to make the experience more efficient. Please note that Renewal believes in a zero-pressure approach. This means that nobody will guilt you into this and that you are free to back out at any time. To inquire further about becoming a kidney donor, please email [email protected] or call 718-431-9831 ext. 209. All information provided will be kept strictly confidential.

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