The Hasidic Jew Who Convinces People to Give Their Kidneys to Strangers—and Helps Them Do It

After a chance encounter with a person suffering from renal disease, Mendy Reiner placed a few advertisements in Jewish papers seeking someone willing to give a kidney to a stranger. Several people responded, and Reiner succeeded in finding a donor and helped to arrange a transplant. Energized by his success, Reiner founded an organization that pairs kidney donors with those in need. He and his colleagues were facilitating roughly 125 transplants a year on the eve of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks largely to these efforts, Orthodox Jews, although they comprise about 0.2 percent of U.S. population, account for some 18 percent of so-called altruistic kidney donations (i.e., those where a living donor gives an organ to a recipient he or she doesn’t know). Reiner discusses his activities, and how they embody the Jewish ideal of ḥesed, or lovingkindness, with Yaakov Langer. (Audio, 72 minutes.)

Read more at Inspiration Nation

More about: American Jewry, Charity, Medicine, Orthodoxy


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus