Monday, February 24, 2020

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On May 21, I had the privilege of donating one of my kidneys through Renewal to a man in need. This decision was extremely personal and a long time in the making. I was so inspired by the kindness of other donors, that I truly felt compelled to do it. It was something I just couldn’t run away from and it has been the most humbling and awe inspiring experience of my life. I have been welcomed with open arms into a club of the most wonderful people I’ve ever encountered. And what’s most remarkable is that many of these people don’t look like me. They are Chasidim from New Square, Black Hatters from Lakewood, Sefardim from Brooklyn, and so many more. Not once did anyone question where I was from or how frum I was: we are Jews and therefore the same, bound together by our participation. Renewal has found a way to unite all Jews in kindness. A wonderful couple from New Square, part of the Renewal Community, came all the way to Cornell late in the evening to deliver a bag of goodies and check in on me after my surgery. They both showed so much love and admiration for me and my husband that I was brought to tears. And more, each person who entered my room, whether in a bekeshe, sheital with a pillbox hat on top, black suit, grey suit or jeans, wouldn’t leave until I gave them a bracha. Me?!! What do I know from giving brachot? But that’s the kind of love and respect afforded by those who don’t look for outward differences but rather choose only to see our unity.

The greater Teaneck community was no different. The outpouring of love and support my family and I have received has been unparalleled. When I go for my daily walks around town as part of my recovery, I am treated like a celebrity by anyone who sees me. I have been showered with flowers, meals, gifts, and warm wishes. Grand and Essex, just one of our many local grocery stores, reached out and catered the entire Shabbos for my family while I was still in the hospital. No one asked them to, no one paid them to, they just did. This experience has proven to me, more than anything else ever in my life, that none of these outside manifestations of our levels of observance matter. There aren’t so many Jews in the world and each and every one of us is Hashem’s precious creation. We all carry a piece of Hashem within us. We are all Jews and really is there anything else that matters?

Aviva Breda