Ari is not only an author but also a licensed social worker, rabbi, therapist and eternal optimist!
I was tweeting away one morning and one of Ari’s tweet came across the Kind Village feed. I was immediately intrigued about his posts and dedication to raising awareness for kidney donation. I reached out to learn more. My effort was met with a warm welcome, followed by a fantastic conversation and a commitment to work together to raise awareness for our shared mission of inspiring others to give.
I had so many questions and Ari had fantastic answers that I thought you might like read. I hope that Ari’s new book “The Kidney Donor’s Journey” inspires some of you to share the gift of life and donate a kidney.
Q: Why is it important for you to give back and tell others about it (specifically, why do you think the telling part matters)?
[Ari] Those who have a particularly giving heart are generally not inclined to pursue glory or recognition for their good deeds. Often, it is the preference of such people to remain anonymous or fly under the radar. While such a perspective supports their ability to continue to quietly conduct many discreet acts of kindness, inadvertently, it robs the world of the ability to learn from their example. I think it is equally an act of kindness to humbly speak up so that others can learn from these kind leaders and follow in their footsteps. As a kidney donor, I struggled for years to speak up about my own actions. However, recently, I have broken my silence in an effort to continue to save lives by raising awareness in the hopes that others will also consider kidney donation.
Q: Why do you think it is important for people to help and show kindness to others?
[Ari] There are many qualities that people have that are inherently flawed. It is part of being human. However, one of the most distinctive attributes of humanity is our ability to be selfless and put others before ourselves. I believe that a world in which people only pursue their own needs and desires is one which creates a vacuum, and detracts from the potential to enjoy meaningful lives. Yet, when people give, it is the ultimate expression of love. It is the best way to bring joy, caring, and light into a world which would otherwise be filled with darkness. Nobody is perfect, but when we do even the smallest acts of kindness, it can have a profound impact, not only upon the recipient, but upon the giver and the world at large.
Q: Other than being a kidney donor, how do you incorporate kindness and giving back into the work you do?
[Ari] My attitude toward kindness is to use whatever I was blessed with to help others. For some people who might have a beautiful voice, they can express their kindness by singing for other people. For someone who has some extra cash, they can donate it to a worthy cause. It was this approach to kindness which led me to pursue my kidney donation. I looked at my life and noticed that I had something which someone else needed - so I shared it. So too, on a daily basis, I try to give. Whether a dollar to person in need, volunteering my time to speak with people in times of crisis, or just offering a warm smile to a stranger, there are countless ways that all of us can give, without even trying. It starts with a giving mindset.
Q: If you could tackle one social problem what would it be and why?
[Ari] There are actually many social problems which weigh on me and motivate me to try and make a difference. However, as a kidney donor, I have taken the mantle of this cause and made a commitment to be the voice for those who have none. I am passionate about raising awareness for this cause, not only because of my unique experience, but because there were not enough people in the world doing so, despite the fact that in the US alone, 12 people die each day just waiting for a kidney. There is a very clear problem, and we have a very clear solution. What we are missing is the awareness. Thus, it was with kindness in mind that I wrote my book, The Kidney Donor’s Journey, in an effort to chart a clear roadmap for others to explore their own role in supporting kidney patients. For when a person donates a kidney, they not only directly save the life of the patient, but they restore hope, faith and a strong quality of life to their entire family.