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

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy