For the first time, a special day of salute was recently held at the Knesset to honor over two hundred people who have donated kidneys through the eight-year-old Matnas Chaim organization headed by Rav Yeshaya Haber of Yerushalayim and to honor the organization itself.
Discussions were held in various Knesset committees of the need to publicize the importance of altruistic kidney donations. A festive event took place in the Knesset’s Sprintzik Hall, where donors discussed their experiences and urged people to follow their example.
“I saved a life and feel better today than I did in the past,” said Sarah Spector, who donated a kidney to a stranger. “Hashem gave us two kidneys, one for ourselves and one to donate.”
A discussion about the issue of kidney donation took place in the Knesset Plenum.
Rav Haber founded his organization after undergoing a kidney transplant himself eight years ago. In 2014, former president Shimon Peres awarded him the Volunteering Award of the President of Israel. Although he concentrates on finding donors from the chareidi and religious Zionist sectors, over half the kidney recipients helped by his organization are non-religious.
The many rabbonim and poskim who permit live kidney donations despite the small health risk involved include Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
Hundreds of Israelis are waiting for kidney transplants for an average of seven years.
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel