The first man in U.S. history to be successfully convicted of organ-trafficking is a 60-year-old man from Brooklyn named Levy Izhak Rosenbaum. Prosecutors say he would farm his kidneys in Israel, paying as little as $10,000 for one. He'd then transport them to the U.S., where he'd sell them for upwards of $120,000 to grumpy bubbies waving crumpled Take-A-Numbers and grumbling, "What? You got nothing fresher?" over a backroom butcher case.
Rosenbaum pled guilty, admitting to brokering three such transplants, but saying he only did so to help save lives. But the New Jersey attorney general's office has recordings in which Rosenbaum boasts of having handled "quite a lot" of exchanges over the past ten years. He also admitted to having concocted fake stories to explain away the relationships between donor and recipient, so as to throw off suspicious hospitals.
Rosenbaum faces up to 20 years in prison when his sentencing comes up on February 2nd. He also must return $420,000 he earned in connection with the three transplants. His lawyers say the ends justify the means:
"The transplants were successful and the donors and recipients are now leading full and healthy lives," they said in a statement.
To which New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman replied:
"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. We will not tolerate such an affront to human dignity."
Such a shonda for the goyim.*
*A reader writes in to correct a common misnomer:
The actual phrase in Yiddish is 'a shande far di goyim'. It kinda sounds like English, hence the confusion. But, in Yiddish, 'far' means 'in front of' or 'before' not 'for'. The Yiddish sentence actually means 'a Jewish shame exposed in front of non-Jews'.
[NYDN, Photo via AP]