Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Black Market Dealer Made $420,000 On Kidneys

A Brooklyn rabbi has pleaded guilty to peddling black market kidneys from Israel for more than $100,000 each, federal prosecutors said.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 60, an Israeli living in Brooklyn, made at least $420,000 in the scam to provide three organs for transplant from Israel, according to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Prosecutors described Rosenbaum, the first person ever convicted of criminally transferring vital organs, as a cold-hearted dealer who profited off others’ illnesses. He bought the kidneys in Israel for about $10,000 each.

“Rosenbaum admitted he was not new to the human kidney business when he was caught brokering what he thought was a black market deal,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “A black market in human organs is not only a grave threat to public health, it reserves lifesaving treatment for those who can best afford it at the expense of those who cannot.”

The Forward first reported on the ghoulish ring in 2009. It also covered how the arrest of Rosenbaum spurred calls to reform the nation’s organ donation system.

But his lawyers portrayed him as a do-gooder who helped save lives in the Jewish community, the New York Daily News reported.

Rosenbaum described one case like this, the paper said: “The son told me the father has kidney failure … I helped him.”

Rosenbaum faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.