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Jewish Journal: The Miracle Man Rabbi—Dr. Jason Weiner Gives His Kidney and Saves a Life

The Jewish Journal recently interviewed Jason Weiner, PhD, senior rabbi and director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai, about his decision to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.

Weiner signed up to become a potential donor to help a friend in need of a kidney transplant. Though he wasn’t compatible with his friend, Weiner was a match for Bonnie Lilien, a 73-year-old teacher and grandmother in Toronto, who had been searching the world for a donor, without any luck.

At first, Weiner was hesitant and concerned about the risks associated with such a serious operation. He consulted with family, rabbis, doctors and others who had undergone similar procedures.

“I had been praising people who did it for so long,” Weiner told the Jewish Journal. “Could I live up to what I believed was right? There was a human being whose life I could save. No one else could. So, I decided to say yes.”   

The surgeries which took place in early February, went well for both Weiner and Lilien. The pair even had a chance to meet while they were in recovery. Lilien told Weiner that before discovering they were a match, her odds of finding a donor had been shrinking with each passing day. In addition to getting a new lease on life with her new kidney, Lilien joked with Weiner that “she’s part rabbi now.”

Weiner said the experience had a tremendous impact on him.

“It’s a really amazing feeling, and it’s unlike any other chesed [kindness] I’ve done for anyone,” Weiner told the Jewish Journal. “It changes the way I see myself, and I feel like I practice what I’ve been preaching. I’ve met so many people who are in need, and I hope I can make a difference. If I wouldn’t have known other people who did it, I would not have done it.”

Click here to read the complete article from the Jewish Journal.