Some people go to the beach for summer vacation. This man decided to go under the knife to donate an organ.
Out of the goodness of his heart, Rabbi Avrohom (Alan) Hoffman decided to donate a different organ — a kidney — to a stranger.
The 63-year-old rabbi and teacher will be wheeled into surgery Tuesday morning, surrendering a kidney for the benefit of a 62-year-old Queens woman. Donor and recipient met for the first time Monday.
Hoffman said donating a kidney had been in the back of his mind for the past few years. On vacation for the summer with no other plans, he decided the time had come.
“We have a saying in Hebrew … ‘If not now, when?’ ” Hoffman said. “If I don’t donate now, hospitals might not let you donate past a certain age so I figure — here’s my opportunity.”
The rabbi’s kidney will go to Berta Ilzarova, a 62-year-old mother of two who has polycystic kidney disease, an incurable genetic disorder that leads to cysts on the kidneys.
Ilzarova, who doesn’t work because of the disease, has been on dialysis for a year while waiting for a kidney transplant.
Hoffman and Ilzarova were connected by kidney matchmaker of sorts Chaya Lipschutz of Brooklyn, a donor who finds kidneys for people who need them.
More than 100,000 people are waiting for kidneys nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Hoffman was in good spirits ahead of his surgery, and he was happy to have finally met Ilzarova.
“It brought a lot of joy to myself. I could put a face to it,” he said of the kindness he is performing. “Someone is truly benefitting from this, so that’s what’s driving me.”
Hoffman, who leads Congregation Shaare Hatikvah in Washington Heights, has nine children and 25 grandchildren.
Ilzarova was too tired to comment, but her 37-year-old son, Victor Khaimov, said the surgery could give her back a normal life.
“She was a little bit surprised that a rabbi with such a big family was taking such a risk,” Khaimov said. “She hopes that God rewards him for his help and for what he is doing.”
credit to nydailynews.com