Rabbi Izhak Levy Rosenbaum of Brooklyn has been arrested for running an international human organ selling ring. Rosenbaum’s role was disclosed to the FBI by an anthropologist, Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California, Berkeley, who has been studying organ markets. She described him as the “main broker” in the international trafficking of human organs — allegedly taken from “vulnerable” people in Moldova, Israel and possibly other countries and sold to wealthy recipients in the United States. Rosenbaum called himself “the matchmaker.”
Witnesses reportedly described Rosenbaum, 58, as a “thug” to forced crying sellers to give up their organs and allegedly pulling a gun (which he was licensed to carry) on reluctant sellers and (according to one quoted source) saying, “You’re here. A deal is a deal. Now, you’ll give us a kidney or you’ll never go home.”
An undercover agent was reportedly able to get Rosenbaum to admit in a sting that he had been “doing this a long time” and had moved “quite a lot” of kidneys.
Some of the people, including some from Israel, would sell their kidneys for $10,000 and Rosenbaum would allegedly sell them for as much as $160,000.
Rosenbaum is a member of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. Orthodox rabbis in New York and New Jersey have been clogging the criminal courts and blogs of late, here and here and here and here.
Rosenbaum had told neighbors that he was in the construction business while the FBI says that he told its informant that he should be called “the matchmaker.” Of course, Jewish matchmakers used to focus on marital rather than medical unions. Yenta might find you a doctor, but would normally leave your kidneys alone:
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