July 18, 2024
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July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Several days ago, at Shabbat lunch, we had the pleasure of being joined by Dr. Howard and Aydi Levine. Dr. Levine was the recipient of a kidney one year ago on September 11. He and his wife were participants in the Bergenfield Renewal Shabbat and gave testament to the amazing work of Project Renewal. As Aydi said, “September 11th, a terrible day for so many, became an extraordinarily happy day for our family.” Dr. Levine, who insisted that we call him “Howie,” shared how he literally has been reborn. A pediatrician, Dr. Levine gave up his practice three years ago when it became obvious that due to his severe kidney disease he would no longer be able to practice. He was on the national registry for a kidney for three years and on the Renewal list for one year before he received his kidney.

As joyous as his story is, even more miraculous to us was some of the facts that he told us. His kidney was donated by a 30-year-old chassidishe lady who had three young children. They met for the first time the day after the surgery. They now speak with each other every Erev Shabbat.

Dr. Levine shared that 90 percent of kidney donors through Renewal are from the Chassidic community. This lady who was his donor said that from a young age she had made up her mind that this is a chesed that she could do and wanted to do. It is one of the rare opportunities that we might ever have in our lifetimes—to give the gift of life to someone and then continue to have a healthy life as well.

Several people that I mentioned this great act of generosity to reacted in a very surprised fashion. They were totally surprised that anyone would endanger themselves in order to save another life. I realized that in our community it is a common thread that we will do whatever we can to lengthen or enhance the life of another. This attitude is not inculcated everywhere. Watching the Renewal video and seeing young children who are now living “normal” lives because a person came forth and donated their kidney to them is more than heartwarming. There is so much for us to be proud of. When we look around and see all of the acts of chesed that are being done through the myriad organizations in this community, we have to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. From the bone marrow registry to the blood clinics to those who arrange to have their organs donated after death—we are a people who have taken on life’s best values. Good job, everyone.

By Nina Glick

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