Yossef Dabbush has needed a new kidney for more than seven years, surpassing the average lifespan of a person on kidney dialysis. But in Israel, donation rates are a quarter of the US, organ donations are hard to come by. That’s in part due to the influence of religion: many interpret Jewish law as forbidding organ donation because a body must be whole and unaltered when buried. Another issue that doctors argue is holding them back is that brain death — when there is no brain function but the lungs and heart still work, keeping organs alive long enough to be transplanted — is not recognized by many influential rabbis. Yossef, who considers himself a devout Jew but secular, doesn’t have a problem with organ donation or brain death. Since he can’t get a kidney through the government system soon enough, Yossef navigates other ways to find a new organ. Listen to the 10-minute story in the player above.
This piece originally broadcast on Interfaith Voices.