What Donating My Kidney Gave Me | Ari Sytner, Ph.D.
At the end of the movie “Schindler’s List”, Oskar Schindler met with the 1,200 Jewish workers he forged identification papers for and bribed Nazi officers into releasing from the concentration camp Auschwitz to work in his Nazi ammunition factory to declare they were all free to go. During this very emotional scene, Schindler is saying good-bye to his good and trusted friend that was the financial manager of the plant. As Schindler stands there with a gold Nazi swastika medallion on the label of his suit, his friend hands him a letter signed by everyone and a ring. Written on the ring was a message from the Talmud that said, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” As Schindler slowly puts on this priceless ring he looks over the sea of faces he saved and begins to feel regret for not doing more. He questions why he kept his car because that could’ve saved 10 people and the gold Nazi medallion could’ve saved one person. Schindler entered the war as a wealthy industrialist; by the end, he was bankrupt. The real Oskar Schindler is the only member of the Nazi party to be buried on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
Our guest today, Ari Sytner is a man that embodies the Talmud saying on Schindler’s ring. He went above and beyond the normal gift of kindness many of us pat ourselves on the back for doing. Ari gave a perfect stranger the gift of life by donating one of his kidneys. That’s right….he gave a kidney to a single mother of three children that would’ve died without it. I know what you’re thinking; why in the world would he do this? Ari’s answer to this question would be much different before and after the experience. Before the donation he was a very risk adverse person that would’ve had a difficult time quantifying the value of this very risky endeavor for an unknown reward. After the donation he was filled with so much joy, pride, meaning and love that he wishes he had more kidneys to give; much like Schindler wished he would’ve sold everything to help more Jews live. Ari experienced the powerful impact of what saving one life really means and he carries this spirit into the intense couples therapy he does to save relationships now.
Ari is a rabbi, social worker, therapist, inspirational speaker, Huffington Post contributor, blogger, CEO, organizational strategist, consultant and author of the book “The Kidney Donor’s Journey: 100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney”. Ari is an inspiration and is the change he wants to see in the world. Sit back and enjoy this fantastic interview with Ari Sytner as he takes us on an emotional roller coaster