Photo Credit: Chaya Lipshutz
Jacob Engelman, his wife Chanita, and Chabad Rabbi Shmuel Teichtel at their grandson’s bris.

Born in the Bronx, Jacob Engelman made aliyah at a young age and voluntarily enlisted in the IDF (although he later had to move back to the States to be with his aging parents). On December 26, 2010, his life changed drastically. He suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident and, after surgery, needed to learn to walk, bathe, get dressed, and feed himself all over again.

Two years ago, he received terrible news. He was in end-stage kidney failure.

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Since that day, his family’s world has been turned upside down. Jacob started dialysis last March. Every day, he has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for nine hours. It is very difficult and exhausting, weakening his immune system and aggravating his diabetes. In short, he needs a kidney as soon possible or he may die.

The waiting list for a cadaver’s kidney is years, so Jacob is seeking a living kidney donor and hopes people reading his story will come forward.

I myself have donated a kidney and did so due to an ad in The Jewish Press over a decade ago that read: “Help Save a Jewish life. Be Mekayim a once in a lifetime Mitzvah. Modern easy process for donor.”

That ad said a lot. It’s like it was talking to me. And after I donated a kidney, I came home from the hospital and did everything as usual. The following Shabbos I walked two miles. My life was so enriched by this kidney donation. I actually feel better now than before my kidney donation!”

I know other kidney donors feel the same way. So please help Jacob if you can. Over the many years I have made kidney matches, sadly some of those on my list passed away or became too ill for a transplant.

“I desperately want [my wife] and I to grow old together, to be with my family and friends, and to watch my grandchildren grow up,” Jacob says. “I want to be around when my grandchildren are bar and bat mitzvah, graduate high school, or get married. I want to live to hear my youngest grandchild call me ‘Papa Jay.’ I would like more days to pick up my grandchildren from school. I would like more outings to get ice cream with my grandchildren. I have so much more I want to do with my life.”

All it takes is one blood test to see if one is a match. Jacob is blood type A but can also get a kidney from someone who is blood type O. He is registered at a hospital in Miami and in New York. If one is out of state, transportation will be paid for. I am happy to address any concerns anyone may have. Contact me at KidneyMitzvah@aol.com or 917-627-8336 or visit KidneyMitzvah.com.

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