Rabbi Ephraim Simon regrets that he has but one kidney to give to save a life.
Five years ago, Rabbi Simon, who heads Teaneck’s Chabad community, donated one of his kidneys to a stranger in Brooklyn.
The match was arranged by Chaya Lipshutz, who donated a kidney in 2005 and now runs kidneymitzvah.com, a website that promotes kidney donation.
The laparoscopic surgery barely left a scar, Rabbi Simon said, and the recovery was easy: “A week later, I was dancing at my sister-in-law’s wedding. A month and a half later, I walked two and a half miles to Hackensack Medical Center to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah,” he said.
Rabbi Simon was moved to donate his kidney by a request Ms. Lipshutz had placed on the TeaneckShuls mailing list for a 12-year-old girl who needed one desperately. As the father at the time of 11- and 13-year-old girls (he has nine children in all), Rabbi Simon “couldn’t delete that email and go on with my life while there was a 12-year-old girl who was suffering.”
As it happened, the girl found another donor. But once Rabbi Simon was in Ms. Lipshutz’s files, he was asked to undergo tissue matching testing for other donors. The third time, he matched. Then came a series of medical tests to ensure he was healthy enough to donate – and then the operation, which gave one of his kidneys a new home.
Since then, he has told his story, and inspired others to donate, which leaves him feeling “very humbled, very blessed.”
“Anyone who is thinking of doing it should feel free to contact me at any time,” he said.