Herzog Wine Tasting Event Serves As Catalyst For Saving A Life


Meet Ronen.  He may be young and charming, but life hasn’t been easy for him.  For the past seventeen years he has been suffering from kidney disease and has been hooked up to dialysis machines several times a week.

Now meet Tomer. Until very recently, he knew nothing about kidney disease or about transplants. But he is intrigued by the idea of outstanding wine and haute cuisine.  So he attended a wine tasting event in New Jersey last summer that was also a fundraiser for Renewal, the organization that facilitates kidney transplants. And that’s how Tomer was zoche to save a life.

Renewal is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting people suffering from various forms of kidney disease. They are a multi-faceted pro-active team that is dedicated to saving lives through kidney donation.  To date, they have been instrumental in facilitating over 120 kidney transplants in the community. Renewal is there for every patient and their family at every stage of the challenging journey towards health, providing many services to both donor and recipient.

Every transplant has a story, and each one is a lesson in hashgacha pratis.  But Ronen and Tomer’s story is especially miraculous.  Tomer, a resident of Monsey and a father of four,  came to the Herzog Wine and Food Tasting Event at The View on the Hudson in Piermont, NY last August.  While he was there, he watched a video about Renewal and the idea of becoming a donor appealed to him.  So he approached Rabbi Menachem Friedman, Program Director of Renewal.  “I gave him my number at the office,” says Rabbi Friedman.  “I wondered if he was really serious.”

He was.  He pursued the topic with Renewal relentlessly.  When he was tested, he was found to be a suitable match for Ronen.  Three months later, a life is saved.

Ronen and Tomer met for the first time (see picture) on Thursday morning, right before the transplant was to take place.  By all accounts, it was an emotional and inspiring meeting.  “When Tomer benched Ronen in front of all of us,” says Rabbi Friedman, “there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

The procedure was performed just last Thursday and both Ronen and Tomer are recovering well.  Tomer is already back home, resting comfortably.  This procedure’s success is truly an opportunity to rejoice.  “Ronen’s case was especially challenging,” says Rabbi Friedman.  “He was on dialysis for much longer than anyone else we know.  Over the past three years, over 200 people were tested but we couldn’t find a suitable donor for him because he has an extremely high antibody rate.”  Then along came Tomer, and Ronen’s prayers were answered.

According to Rabbi Friedman, “We at Renewal feel privileged to have had the zechus of being a part of this great mitzvah.”

For more information about Renewal, contact [email protected] or call 718-431-9831

(YWN Desk – NYC)