Recovering Rabbi is Giving Back — Antibodies, That Is


Some rabbis gripe that they give blood for their congregants. In this case, it wasn’t hyperbole.

After recovering from Covid-19, Rabbi Aviad Bodner of Ramath Orah, a Modern Orthodox congregation on the Upper West Side, knew what he had to do. The rabbi, 34, and his wife Lindsey, also 34, recovered and decided to donate plasma with the hopes their antibodies could be used to help others.

Rabbi Bodner said he went to the hospital after having a high fever on March 6 but was told to go home. He decided not to attend his synagogue’s Purim services as a precaution.

His wife came down with symptoms a few days later and went to Urgent Care. She took a test for the coronavirus, which came back positive five days later.

Despite the fact that it’s not known for sure if someone can be re-infected, both decided to donate their plasma.

“We wanted to go public with it,” said Rabbi Bodner, who is originally from Israel. “If there’s a small way to help, in our minds it’s a no-brainer. The doctors, nurses and medical staff are doing so much. This is the least we could do.”

The couple has three small children, ages 3, 18 months and 2 months.

The program at Mt. Sinai Hospital will hopefully be able to use antibodies produced in those who have overcome the disease to help those fighting it.

Lindsey Bodner said it was important to donate her plasma.

“The Jewish response is when tragedy strikes you have to do whatever you can,” she said. “We wanted to set an example. I wish we could do more.”

Rabbi Bodner, who said he closed his synagogue the week after Purim, conducts Zoom services.

“We are living in an unprecedented and scary time,” he said. “We must do whatever we can to stop the spread. I’m not a hero; I am just hoping that my wife and I can help others in need. I hope others who have recovered will do the same.”