Chaya Lipshutz, creator of kidneymitzvah.com
Gift giving has become a significant part of the observance of Chanukah, the eight-day Festival of Lights. Now, thanks to the Orthodox Union’s quarterly magazine, Jewish Action, the most profound gift of all has been given just in time for the holiday – the gift of life.
The gift took the form of a kidney that was donated to a mother of three from Israel who otherwise would be facing death. The transplant took place this Monday in New York, two days before the start of Chanukah. The donor, an American who at present wishes to remain anonymous, is a married man with children.
In the Winter 2010 issue, Jewish Action’s editor, Nechama Carmel, ran a story “Kidney Doctor as Kidney Donor,” by Dr. Meyer D. Lifschitz. As a companion piece, Bayla Sheva Brenner, senior writer in the OU’s Communications Department, wrote “Meet the Kidney Matchmaker,” about Chaya Lipschutz, of Brooklyn, NY, creator of kidneymitzvah.com, an organization she founded after she herself was a kidney donor to a New Jersey mother of two, after reading an ad which alerted her to the situation. The purpose of her organization is to link those in need of kidneys with others willing to donate theirs – and aptly living up to her name, “Chaya,” Hebrew for “life.”
The donor told Chaya Lipschutz that his decision to donate the kidney was made as a result of reading the Jewish Action story.
According to statistics in the story, obtained from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, more than 86,000 people nationwide are waiting for a healthy kidney; in 2009, 4,600 died while waiting for a deliverance than never came.
Meanwhile, in this successful case, the donor is doing very well and is ready for discharge from the hospital. The recipient needs a much longer recovery time, but the new kidney is working well, Chaya Lipschutz reports. She adds, regarding the magazine piece, “More lives can be saved with stories on kidney donation,” and expressed the belief that others who read the Jewish Action article might have donated their kidney on their own, without the assistance of kidneymitzvah.com.
Chaya has been treated as a celebrity for her actions, being honored as “An Extraordinary Woman of Brooklyn” by Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes, and has been proclaimed a “Hometown Hero,” by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Her full bio can be found on kidneymitzvah.com/aboutchayalipschutz.
Meanwhile, Jewish Action Editor Nechama Carmel, considering the time of year the kidney was donated, said, “The Jewish Action story led to the greatest gift of all.”
OU | Enhancing Jewish Life