News

She Donates Kidney To Beloved Cantor Who Officiated At Her Bat Mitzvah

A St. Louis woman donated her kidney to her congregation’s beloved cantor, the St. Louis Jewish Light reported. Lynnsie Balk Kantor, a real estate agent, heard in February that Leon Lissek, hazan at the Conservative synagogue B’nai Amoona for over 30 years, needed a kidney. Lissek had led prayers at Kantor’s bat mitzvah.

“I remember being scared of the hazan when I was little, because he had this amazing, booming voice that could fill a massive room,” Kantor said. “He and his family were such a big part of our family when I was growing up, and we stayed in touch after they left.”

Without telling Lissek, Kantor had her cheek swabbed by the Jewish organ donation agency trying to find a match for Lissek. After Kantor discovered that she was a match, she called the Lissek family to tell them the news.

“Guess what?” Kantor said she told Lissek. “I was one of the people being tested. And as of this morning, I learned I am going to have the honor of giving you my kidney.”

Lissek cried tears of joy.

The surgery went off without a hitch, and both Kantor and Lissek are healing well. Lissek reports that his new kidney is doing “fantastically,” and Kantor is now attending dance classes — albeit one organ lighter.

“I am definitely not a hero,” Kantor said. “I am just someone who heals well and doesn’t particularly mind medical stuff or is terrified by it. I was healthy enough to do it, and for everything else there is Xanax.”

Contact Ari Feldman at feldman@forward.com or on Twitter, @aefeldman.

This story "Kidney Donated To Beloved Cantor From Congregant" was written by Ari Feldman.

Recommend this article

She Donates Kidney To Beloved Cantor Who Officiated At Her Bat Mitzvah

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close
Close