The Five Ounce Gift: A Medical, Philosophical & Spiritual Jewish Guide to Kidney Donation (Paperback)
If you had the power to save a life, would you do it? If you knew you could save the life of someone who would surely die without a kidney transplant, would you give them one of yours? These are the questions that burned in Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz. He had that power, that knowledge. Could he go through with the surgery to donate a kidney to someone who desperately needed it? The more he considered it, the less he could imagine not donating.
The Five-Ounce Gift charts Rabbi Yanklowitz's journey of research, reflection, and commitment to honoring the call to action in Pirke Avot - Ethics of our Fathers: "It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it."
Rabbi Yanklowitz could not refuse the call to help someone in need if it was in his power to do so. Walk with him as he wrestles with the personal, spiritual, religious, and ethical aspects of becoming a living kidney donor, and as he shows you a way to consider the same path for yourself.
Every day in the U.S., a dozen people waiting for a kidney transplant die for lack of a donor; that's about 5,000 people a year. Of the almost 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, only about 20,000 get a transplant - most often from a deceased organ donor. The rest are still waiting...some on dialysis...all of them running out of time.
"This is more than an extraordinary book; it is a proposal that could change the world. It is more than a remarkable memoir; it is a true inspiration. It is more than a superb work of scholarship; it transforms a theoretical idea into a lifesaving strategy. Rabbi Yanklowitz is an exceptional person with a stunningly beautiful vision. You will never forget this book."
-Rabbi Arthur Kurzweil, author of On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz
"The notion of separating oneself from a body part is difficult to understand, and even more so when the recipient is a stranger. I was moved by Rabbi Yanklowitz's selfless act of donating a kidney and found his reasoning to do so fascinating. This book is a wonderful collection of spiritual and personal writings about the transformational power of giving back to others who are in their most vulnerable hours. A powerful read."
-Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber
"Consistent with morals and Jewish law, organ donation is a big mitzvah. It's a way to continue life even as your soul leaves the Earth. I support Rabbi Yanklowitz's teaching and writing on this topic."
-U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman
"I respect Rabbi Shmuly's kidney donation so much and applaud his tireless advocacy."
-U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
"I'm inspired by Rabbi Yanklowitz's selfless act of donating a kidney to a total stranger. It tells us a lot about the moral character of a life dedicated to Jewish ethics and values."
"I know of no book like it. It is moving, uplifting, and profoundly challenging. Although I have no idea how many ounces this book will weigh, it is itself a precious gift "
- Dr. Martha C. Nussbaum, The University of Chicago