Marci Rapp finessed the setbacks with class. She rearranged her business priorities as creator and CEO of MarSea Modest Swimwear and gym clothes with her husband/business partner, Harold, in order to remain on standby as a kidney donor. Her intended recipient had been rescheduled to receive that vitally necessary organ several times. Recurring illness delayed the surgery throughout May and June 2011. On June 14th the life-saving surgery took place.
“The truth is that I was so sore the first week. I’ve been so busy, despite recuperating, Baruch Hashem,” Marci says. “It is our summer season and I had the surgery at the worst time possible for our business. However, it seems to have worked in reverse, as people have dafka come to us because of the donation.”
Less than a week after the life-saving surgery, Marci left her home in Katamon, Israel and spoke before an audience of the Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) branch in Netanya on Sunday June 19th. Among other comments she shared is the thought that, “We definitely need to make Kidney Donation 101 easier for Anglo olim. Some don’t speak Hebrew easily. Others don’t know how to be involved in the kidney donation process.” She coaxed audience members to “…please contact me or KidneyMitzvah@aol.com if you wish to make an altruistic kidney donation.” It’s a message that Marci shares on listservs and in live conversations, too.
“I have a lot of hashgacha pratit stories that have come out of all this,” Marci smiles. “Judith is an olah from Scotland who now lives in Rehovot. I met her in my quest to become a kidney donor. She introduced us to fascinating people.
“My family and I recently shared a BBQ – actually a seudat hoda’a – with my recipient in her home in the Shomron. That outing included a tour of Shilo with one of her relatives, Yossi, who is a tour guide. His book about the Binyamin Region is well known in Israel. We spent a Shabbat in Maaleh Levona where Yossi owns a tzimmer, a guest house that he built into the hills with a vineyard below. It’s a retreat where couples can heal and/or reconnect. I’d never heard of Maaleh Levona before this. I never would have met these wonderful people if I hadn’t been available to donate my kidney. We even connected to supermarket magnate Rami Levy. The daughter of my kidney recipient works for him. Rami now sells MarSea Modest Swimwear and gym clothes in his Yafiz clothing store.
“It turns out Yossi had been the tour guide for a Bar Mitzvah tour we’d shared with other guests in 1995. My husband Harold and Yossi recognized each other on this journey in 2011. Maaleh Levona has a shul dedicated to the memory of Avrom Silver, the host who’d brought us to Israel on that 1995 tour. Avrom died the summer of 1996, at age 42.”
A Nefesh B’Nefesh 2008 olah from Toronto, Marci remains busy moderating her listserv for vendors, selling modest swimwear and caring for her family. She alerts everyone she can to the opportunity of saving a Jewish life, saying “You can become a live kidney donor in Israel if you contact Israeli kidney shadchanit Chaya Lipschutz via e-mail at KidneyMitzvah@aol.com or by phone 917-627-8336. You can also call Rav Isaiah Heber 050-411-7014 or access www.KidneyMitzvah.com.”
Here’s a brief look at Israelis urgently seeking kidney donors:
1. 33 year old father with high antibodies, complicating the search for a match
2. 25 year old man who served in the IDF
3. 24 year old with very high antibodies and perhaps a 7% chance of finding a match
4. 47 year old mother raised on a kibbutz, daughter of a Holocaust survivor
5. 57 year old father
Here is what a few rabanim and doctors say about kidney donations:
“Fortunate is the lot of all (kidney) donors – Hashem will surely reward them, bring good health to them, their children and their children’s children, for all eternity” – Rabbi Yisrael Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Torah V’daas, Brooklyn, NY
“The zechut, the merit, of this mitzvah, of donating a kidney, will stand by the donor, insuring that he be blessed from heaven with a long life, years of good life, full of simcha, suffering from neither harm nor loss.” – Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, z”tl former Rosh Yeshiva Ponevezh Yeshiva, Bnei Brak, Motetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Degel HaTorah
“Just think people have no problem having only one kidney, so we have to ask, why did Hashem give us two kidneys? Perhaps it is so you would have an extra one to donate and save a life! – Dr. Stuart Greenstein, Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Kidney donation is a relatively safe operation. Many donors will never feel the loss of their second kidney. So giving up a kidney causes no disadvantage to your long-term health. In fact, studies have shown, that Kidney donors actually live longer than the general population – because donors come from a pool of people in good health.” – Dr. Michael Edye, Adjunct Associate Professor of surgery, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
Marci can be reached at 050-424-8359 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.