Tim Larsen  /  AP
Reform Rabbi Andrew Bossov, right, and Methodist Rev. Karen Onesti, center, look on while Rabbi Emeritus Richard Levine shows off shirts to the congregation during a special blessing and ceremony in Mount Laurel, N.J., Friday, Jan. 19, 2007. Bossov was diagnosed with kidney failure nearly 10 years ago and Onesti donated one of her kidneys to him on Tuesday.
updated 1/24/2007 1:24:34 PM ET 2007-01-24T18:24:34

PHILADELPHIA — Talk about interfaith cooperation: Reform Rabbi Andrew Bossov's new kidney belonged, until Tuesday, to Methodist minister Karen Onesti.

The two leaders of congregations in the Philadelphia suburb of Mount Laurel had surgery Tuesday to transplant one of Onesti's kidneys into Bossov, said Rick Cushman, spokesman for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where the procedure was performed.

"Everything went exceptionally well," Cushman said. "The procedure was a success and the prognosis is success."

Cushman said the surgery took just over 3 1/2 hours. By Tuesday night, both patients were awake and visiting with their families.

The clerics, who have known each other for about four years, have taken on the role of ambassadors to promote organ transplants.

Wait for donors
"Our interest in sharing the story is to encourage additional people to come forward to donate, whether alive or in the aftermath of tragedy," Bossov said before the surgery. Across the United States, nearly 95,000 people are waiting for organ transplants.

Bossov, 47, was first diagnosed with kidney failure nearly 10 years ago — an effect of a medication he had taken. About one year ago, a change in medications made him lose the function of the organs that clean waste from the body by producing urine, and he was placed on dialysis.

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