What does a 68-year-old Conservative Jewish man from Cranford, New Jersey have in common with a 42 year old Hasidic man originally from London?
Earlier this year, Yosef Leib Bornstein, a Ger Hasid donated his kidney to Dave Salomon through the help of Renewal, a non-profit which facilitates altruistic kidney donations.
Jew in the City, whose mission is to break down stereotypes about religious Jews and offer a humorous, meaningful look into Orthodox Judaism, filmed this story in the recently released short film: A Match Made in Heaven. “We only see Hasidic Jews abusing people and being insular,” explains Allison Josephs, Jew in the City’s founder and director. “There are so many wonderful acts of kindness being done in the Hasidic world that no one ever hears about. We were excited to share just one of these stories.”
Salomon’s parents both died of kidney disease after years of being on dialysis. Salomon had resigned himself to a similar fate. With O blood type, Salomon is a Universal Donor, but can only accept donations from a donor with O blood. With such a narrow donor base, Salomon was pushed to the bottom of the recipient list. They publicized his story in their local Jewish newspaper in hopes of finding a donor to no avail. With his daughter soon to be married, Salomon and his family hoped he’d be able to attend her wedding but they didn’t know how likely that would be.
For Bornstein, raised as a Hasidic Jew, the chance to give his kidney to someone in need was obvious. He was taught all his life, “If you’ve save someone’s life, it’s like you’ve saved the whole world.” He didn’t care who his kidney went to, just that it should help someone.
Neither Salomon nor Bornstein knew the other before the transplant took place. Not only was their emotional meeting captured in A Match Made in Heaven, the two were reunited months later at Salomon’s daughter’s wedding. Both happy, both healthy and thriving.
But then the story took one more twist. To show her gratitude for her husband’s life being saved, Salomon’s wife, Gail, recently donated one of her kidneys too.
View A Match Made in Heaven here: