Grapevine: Running a receipt

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

 KIDNEY RECIPIENT Guy Dimery and donor Yael Keller are once again up and running. (photo credit: COURTESY HADASSAH)
KIDNEY RECIPIENT Guy Dimery and donor Yael Keller are once again up and running.
(photo credit: COURTESY HADASSAH)

Anyone in urgent need of a kidney transplant knows that kidney failure has a debilitating effect on the whole body. People who have been through this know what it’s like to feel weak and tired all the time.

Kidney failure can hit people of any age.

Guy Dimery was under medical monitoring from the age of 25. By the time he was 29, he was in urgent need of a kidney transplant, but given the way he felt at the time, he never imagined that the day would come when he would run a marathon. But a year after he received the kidney donation from Yael Keller, a woman he’d never met before, her gift saved his life and the two of them ran a marathon together. 

Keller, a mother of five who lives in Tekoa, began thinking about donating a kidney after her brother had done so. The idea that her kidney could save someone’s life appealed to her deeply.

The surgery was performed by the Transplant Unit team, headed by Dr. Abed Halaila, assisted by Dr. Ashraf Imam at the Hadassah-University Medical Center.

Hadassah University Medical Center (credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Hadassah University Medical Center (credit: AVI HAYOUN)

The operation was a success, and immediately afterward Keller spoke to Dimery’s family. Later, she met Dimery; their personalities clicked, and they became good friends. Dimery is also friendly with Keller’s husband.

Before Dimery had taken ill, he enjoyed running, but as his body weakened, running became nothing more than a distant memory. Keller had also enjoyed running but put it aside during the long months of preparing for the transplant.

Yet a few months after they met, Dimery and Keller began taking short runs together, and then longer ones, until they realized that they were fit enough to run a marathon. 

Although he now leads a perfectly normal life, Dimery still consults with doctors at Hadassah, who are collectively very pleased with his progress.

Keller has suffered no ill effects from her altruism. As a rule, no harm comes to kidney donors. Most people can function quite well with only one kidney.

Just imagine, nearly all of us have been blessed with the possibility of giving life to a person who might otherwise die. All it takes is the gift of a single kidney.

Jerusalem Cinematheque pays tribute to Italian director

■ THE JERUSALEM Cinematheque, together with the Italian Cultural Institute, will pay tribute to the late Italian film director Francesco Rosi (1922-2015), who in 1972 won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film The Mattei Affair.

At the Jerusalem tribute, another of his films, Christ Stopped at Eboli, will be screened on Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. The film is about Italian-Jewish artist, writer, physician and political activist Carlo Levi, who in 1935 was exiled to the remote village of Eboli for daring to stand up against the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. What was intended as a punishment in the final analysis became a reward, about which Levi wrote a book. The film is based on the book.

Jame Sherman honored by Jewish Agency

 ■ ALMOST EXACTLY 14 years after a square near the Jerusalem International Convention Center was inaugurated in memory of her late father Max Fisher, trailblazing philanthropist Jane F. Sherman was honored last Sunday by The Jewish Agency for Israel’s North American Council, which chose her as the recipient of the inaugural Max M. Fisher Award.

Sherman was a natural, regardless of who her father may have been. The award was in recognition of her 50 years of deep-seated support for Israel and Jewish life around the world. Sherman has been particularly interested in youth at risk, Israel experiences, and the next generation of Jewish leaders.

She was a member of the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for more than 25 years; is currently a member of The Jewish Agency Executive; has chaired the organization’s Israel Department and its Youth Aliyah and Allocations committees; was the founding chair of the Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet; and a founder of the Israeli Forum. She has also spearheaded various new initiatives, such as the Youth Futures and Heartbeats programs.

Beyond The Jewish Agency, Sherman has held numerous top leadership positions in the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, including women’s campaign chair and president, and vice president of the Federation. Sherman and her husband, Larry, are intimately involved in Fisher Flight, a program to educate and train future Jewish leaders.

 Sherman’s father — the esteemed philanthropist and American Jewish leader Max M. Fisher, who died in 2008, made his fortune in the oil industry and was a close friend of president Ronald Reagan. Fisher served as founding chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Agency. The Max Fisher Award will be presented annually to prominent philanthropists in the Jewish world who embody his legacy and contribute exceptionally to the strengthening of the State of Israel.

Sherman said that she was proud to receive the award because her father had more influence on her life than anyone else. Strengthening Israel and Israelis is her life’s passion, she said.

“Max M. Fisher was highly influential in shaping world Jewry’s role in the establishment of the State of Israel, mobilizing support for the waves of aliyah from the former Soviet Union and for major aliyah operations from Ethiopia. In 1970, Fisher embarked on a process to reconstitute The Jewish Agency,” chairman of The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors Mark Wilf said at the event honoring Sherman, held at the Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

“This was not a small task and took no small amount of chutzpah to change a structure that had been created by David Ben-Gurion. But he was right. He wanted to ensure that the voices of Diaspora Jews would have the same weight as the voices of the Zionists or the Jews that lived in Israel.

“He stood up in front of the plenary at The Jewish Agency and told everyone there, ‘We are all Zionists.’ And from that day, the voice of Jews living around the world has been represented at The Jewish Agency.”

Jane Sherman has continued her father’s legacy, frequently coming to Israel and spending much time in Jerusalem, where The Jewish Agency has its headquarters.