Jerusalem Post
Letters to the Editor

Brave donors
Sir, - You reported that "an emotionally charged publicity campaign in the US soliciting live donors of kidneys for Israeli patients, such as that run by HODS, could encourage people with weak personalities who seek the limelight and a hero's welcome in Israel" ("Health Ministry refuses to finance expenses for US kidney donors who want to save Israelis," November 20).

The Halachic Organ Donor (HOD) Society is not running such a campaign. We do not recruit people to donate organs.

There are brave people, however, who understand that an Israeli's chances of receiving an organ are much smaller than an American's. They ask us to help them donate kidneys to Israelis, and we do so. We did this when we brought Eric Swim to Israel and saved a 10-year-old boy's life.

Eric passed the psycho-social evaluation in America, and another one in Israel that determined he was not donating his organ because he was seeking "the limelight and a hero's welcome in Israel."

Eric, a very private person, repeatedly stated he did not want to appear on television or be interviewed by the press. He agreed only after repeated urging because I thought it would help us raise money to bring over the 15 other Americans willing to altruistically donate their kidneys to Israelis.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. No private or government funding has come forth for this initiative. Meanwhile, this year, close to 100 Israelis will die needlessly from the dearth of donors.

ROBBY BERMAN
Founder & Director
Halachic Organ Donor Society
New York